It happens. Pipes break, faucets leak, dishwashers flood all over the place. We've made sure that all the fittings and the like are up to the latest code and specs, and all connectors have been changed with stainless steel hose. The odds are, nothing will happen.
But, sometimes, things can get out of control, and because the house has a lot of hardwood floors (the real kind, not the lick and stick to the floor kind), we have to be careful about water in the house.
There is a water shut off valve on level two, the basement, in the Laundry Room / Bunk Bed room. There are a set of three valves in the wall, opposite the washer / dryer combination, nestled between a bunk bed and the floor cabinets. It's simple: to the right is one level "gate" valve, down lower are two of the more typical garden hose type circular valves. The GATE valve is for the water main in; shutting that shuts down all water into the house. Opening the two circular valves drains all water from the house. The house was designed with these features in mind, not because we have flooding disasters on a regular basis, but because we sometimes shut the house down and drain all the water from the pipes to protect them from freeze damage. When you arrive, the water should be on, and the circular drain valves will be closed.
Look at the following pictures:
Water main valve CLOSED (NO WATER TO HOUSE)
WATER MAIN VALVE OPEN (WATER GOES TO HOUSE)
IN CASE OF FLOODING OR WATER LEAKS: Close the GATE valve. It's the handle / lever, to the right. Making it go horizontal closes the valve. Making the lever vertical (or parallel to the pipe) opens the valve. Then call for HELP!
Normally, you should not even have to deal with these valves. They should be in their proper position when you arrive. Leave them alone when you leave; we take care of it. But, you should be aware of this, just in case there is an unexpected water leak in the house.
Do not open the drain valves, especially when the water main is open. This will only result in a frozen river forming down the mountainside, which will only piss off our city officials, and cause all sorts of mayhem eventually on the roads below....