Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue firefighters are recovering from a busy week dealing with broken water pipes across the District. In the past seven days, firefighters responded to 130 calls for service because of water problems at homes and businesses. “Now that the temperatures are back above freezing, this is a great time to educate yourself about how to shut off the water in your home,” says TVF&R Communications Officer Brian Barker, “this can happen to anyone, and many homeowners suffer thousands of dollars in damage because they don’t know how to stop the water from flowing.”
This is also a good time to prepare yourself for power outages and other problems that happen during the winter months. TVF&R advises that you take the following preventative measures:
§ Gather necessary supplies for your family including flashlights, extra batteries, water, food, blankets, cell phone (vehicle) charger, manual can opener, battery-operated clock, etc. Stock up on food and water, as well as necessary medications.
§ Candles are a fire hazard – use only flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, and light sticks as emergency lighting in your home.
§ Prepare your vehicle. Inspect and change fluids (oil, antifreeze, wiper washer, etc.) and ensure your tire tread and brakes are in good working order. Keep your fuel tank at least half-filled and have emergency supplies (flares, blanket, water, cell phone) on hand in case you’re stranded. Avoid driving when roads are treacherous.
§ Never use outdoor equipment including propane or kerosene heaters or charcoal barbecues inside a home due to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that claims hundreds of lives every year.
§ Gas-fueled generators must be used outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using a generator.
Shut Off Your Water | How to Find Your Shut Off Valve
If a water pipe broke in your home, are you able to find the shut off valve? Know where it’s located before you have an emergency. There should be a valve near the house.
Look for your shut off valve in the following places:
§ In the crawl space or basement, where the water line enters the home.
§ In the garage where the water line enters the wall or ceiling, near the water heater or laundry hookup.
§ Outside near the foundation, often protected by a concrete ring or clay pipe.
Your Water Meter
Your water meter is located in a concrete or plastic box in the ground, generally in front of your house and near the side property line. It’s important to keep the box free of plants and roots that can obstruct or hide the meter or damage the service line.
Can't Find Your Shut Off Valve?
You may want to have a shut off valve installed if you can’t locate one. If you have an emergency and need help shutting off your water at the meter or locating your water meter, please call Tigard Public Works at 503-639-4171 or (after 5 p.m.) 503-639-1554. This is for Tigard Water Service Area customers.
If your water provider is the Tualatin Valley Water District, call them at 503-642-1511.
Not sure who provides your water? If your bill comes from the City of Tigard, then you are receiving water from the Tigard Water Service Area.
Types of Shut Off Valves
Your water shut off valve may take many different forms. Below are a few of the most common types of shutoff valves:
You can also turn off your water at your backflow device