An emergency plumber can't always arrive immediately. Even 24/7 plumbing services may take a few minutes to an hour to get to you, especially if it's a busy time for them or they're understaffed. During that time period, it can be easy to panic — after all, your room may be quickly flooding. Here are a few things that you should do to minimize the damage.
Turn Off the Water Supply
There are a few ways you can turn off the water supply. If you're dealing with a sink or a toilet, it's simple: there should be a shut off valve that's located somewhere on the appliance itself. Turn this until the water shuts off and you should be able to stem the flow of water. Turning off the water supply is very important — water itself is incredibly damaging, especially in large volumes. If you can't turn off the water supply with a shut off valve — such as with a leak in your wall — you instead need to turn off the supply to your house. You can call your water company to find out how to do this on your property.
Soak Up the Excess Water
Laying down towels is the best way to ensure that water does not spread. It's important to soak up water as soon as possible, as it can sink into your foundation, penetrate your walls, and create water damage that could cause issues for months or years to come. If your leak is on a second floor or you live in an apartment, soaking up water will prevent it from penetrating through the floor and ceiling. In an apartment or condo, you can become liable for the damage that this water causes lower tenants.
Stay Away from Electricity
If there are any electrical appliances in the area that may have been subject to water or if the water has tampered with any outlets, you should not go in the room. Instead, you should turn off the breakers within that room immediately to prevent any electrical flow or damage. The plumber will be able to assess the situation and tell you whether an electrician needs to be called in.
When it comes to the actual plumbing itself, you should wait — it's very easy to make a situation worse. Plunging a stopped up toilet, for instance, could actually clog it more and make the clog more difficult to fish out. Instead, you should focus on mitigating the risk until the professional help arrives.