Managing Household Emergencies

It is one thing to safety proof your home and be prepared for any type of household emergency that might and could happen. Unfortunately, it’s called an emergency for a reason and sometimes no matter how prepared you are as a homeowner, things happen anyways. This can be due to the unexpected changes in weather that Calgary experiences all the time, wear and tear on your home or just a simple accident.

Here are a few household emergencies that are common here in Calgary, how to prevent them and more importantly what to do if they do occur!

Water Pipe

A Burst or Leaking Water Pipe

If you notice any signs of water leakage in your home it is important to act fast. Your main concern is not about how much water you are loosing, but the damage it is doing and the cost it will take to repair it. There are many reasons for a water pipe to burst, such as temperature, the age of the pipe and changes in pressure throughout the year in the pipe. For example if the pipe freezes then the pressure has nowhere to go but up. When and if this situation does occur there are 3 steps you should follow, to ensure as little damage is done as possible:

  1. Shut off the water flow: the water valve, which is generally located in the basement of most homes, should be shut off immediately. Ensure that everyone in your home knows where this valve is so they can react accordingly.
  2. Drain the water pipes: do this by turning off your water heater and then draining all of the facets in your home. Once the water flow stops then your pipes should be empty.
  3. Bring in a professional: generally if a water pipe bursts it is not advised you fix it yourself, unless you are not a trained professional. A licensed plumber will be able examine the entire area and figure out what further damage has been done, so that you are not merely putting a Band-Aid on a larger problem. See Who To Call for licensed plumbers that you can contact if this situation does arise.
Locked out!

Being on the outside of your home looking in, with no key, is an extremely frustrating situation. Something we can’t stress enough, is to call in a professional right away. If it is an emergency there are many companies throughout Calgary that will come within minutes. More often then not, people will feel embarrassed and try to pick the lock themselves, doing more damage than good and costing them more in the long run.

To prevent this situation, try hiding a spare key somewhere in your yard or in your garage, where no one else but you can access it. However, if the situation does arise, Who to Call has many trained and licensed locksmiths to pick from, who will safely open your door and repair any damages.

Power outage

Power Outage

This is an extremely common situation that is almost impossible to prevent, especially with all of the extreme weather in Calgary.  A power outage can occur if the lines come in contact with high winds, snowstorms, lightening strikes, tree branches, vehicles and even small animals. The best thing you can do to prepare for this situation is create an Emergency Preparedness Kit, see how here! It is important during a power outage to turn off all of your appliances, except one light so you can tell when the power comes back on and to avoid opening your fridge/ freezer to allow the food to stay cold. Be sure to keep track of the outage on social media via a smart phone or laptop, or through a battery powered radio. See Enmax for more details on what you should do in the event of a power outage in Calgary

Leaking Roof

Leaking Roof

This, like a burst pipe, can do a lot of damage to your home if not amended immediately. A leaky roof can cause structural damage, blistering or peeling of exterior finishes, damage to walls + flooring, mold and increased energy costs. It can occur for a variety of reasons, such as an aged roof, poorly installed shingles, hail damage, ice, inadequate ventilation + drainage or improper flashing around roof penetrations. A roof penetration is anywhere there is a link to the roofing, such as a chimney or sky roof. These areas are most likely to leak, so it is important that the flashing connecting your shingles to these areas is done properly.

Usually if your roof is leaking there will be some sort of warning signs, such as damaged flashing, ceiling spots, missing shingles, blisters in your shingles, buckling, algae or moss growth, rotting or shingle curling. Some of these signs are difficult to see from the ground, so it is a smart idea to get your roof annually inspected for age and to catch any of these warning signs early on, before extreme damage has been done. You can find quality, licensed roofing professionals on Who to Call to come and inspect your roof or to fix an emergency.

Kitchen Fire

Kitchen Fires

They key to dealing with a kitchen fire is speed! These are extremely dangerous and if dealt with the wrong way, could spread to the rest of your home. The tricky part about kitchen fires, is that there are many kinds and each scenario is requires you to act in a different way. A microwave fire can be as simple as unplugging the appliance and keeping the door shut, to suffocate the flames.  If a fire starts in a pot or pan, place the lid on it and hold it securely. If neither of these options are successful, use your kitchen fire distinguisher and aim at the base of the fire to put it out.

However, a grease fire is an entirely different situation. If this occurs it is extremely important not to use any water to try and put out the flames. Water will only make the fire worse and cause it to spread. In this scenario throwing baking soda and salt can sometimes tame the flames, as well as laying a wet towel on the burning area or if the fire is too big, use your fire extinguisher.

It is important in any of these situations to not try and swat the fire, as this will only fan the flames. If it gets too large to manage call 911 immediately and get out of the house safely and quickly.

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Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen
Alana Kitchen, founder of Who To Call Inc. Taking care of a house with three boys I always needed a good drywaller on speed dial. When I moved to Calgary I quickly discovered it was an Olympic sport to find home service businesses that provided the quality service and advice I was looking for. This experience inspired Who To Call – a website dedicated to helping Calgarians find quality home service repair companies. Sign up to post your project and find quality companies today!
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