Upon noticing a plumbing emergency in your home, your initial reaction might be to panic and call your local plumbing service. While it's true that you'll need the help of a professional to successfully deal with this issue, there are some important things to do before you seek assistance. Your quick action upon discovering the problem can limit the amount of water damage that your home will face -- and possibly even the price of your plumbing bill. You don't need to be a plumbing expert -- just roll up your sleeves and proceed in this manner.
Stop The Flow Of Water
If you're dealing with a leak from a fixture, your immediate priority is to stop water from flowing to the area. You can do this in one of two ways. Most fixtures have shut-off valves near them; look for a small plastic handle attached to a length of pipe in the vicinity. With a sink, for example, the shutoff is typically below the sink itself; in many cases, it will be inside your vanity. Turn the handle clockwise to stop the flow of water. If the valve was installed correctly, you'll typically only need to turn it a quarter turn -- this allows you to get the job done quickly before more water can worsen the situation. If you can't find the nearby shut-off valve, hurry to your water tank and shut off the main supply line.
Identify If A Blockage Is Causing The Issue
Take a quick look at the scene before you to try to decipher what caused the problem. For example, if the toilet is overflowing, it could be because of a blockage. Identifying this issue is important because it will help you provide relevant information to the plumber when you call, but can also indicate how you should proceed. If you're dealing with a toilet overflow, see if you can use a plunger to free up the blockage and get rid of some of the standing water, for example.
Call Your Plumber
Once you've taken the above steps to try to control the situation, you can take a brief moment to call the plumber. Try to provide as much information about the emergency as possible, such as when you noticed the leak and what you did that might have precipitated it. Giving this information is valuable as the plumber might be able to give you situation-specific tasks to perform before arriving.