Staying Safe While Recovering

October 15, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sharing important information to keep you and your family safe during and immediately after Hurricane Delta. Because the hurricane has made landfall during the COVID-19 pandemic and affecting areas impacted by earlier storms this season, it’s even more important to remain vigilant to stay safe.

Key tips include:

Stay out of floodwater

  • Follow local flood watches, warnings, and instructions.
  • ​Avoid driving through flooded areas, especially when the water is moving quickly. As little as six inches of water can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Turn around, do not drown.

Stay safe during a power outage

  • Prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning after a disaster. Only use a portable generator outdoors in a dry area at least 20 feet away from doors, windows and vents. When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.
  • Avoid downed power lines and NEVER touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines.
  • Do not walk or drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water.

Keep food and water safe

Food

  • After a flood or power outage, some food may not be safe to eat and must be thrown out.
  • Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or stormwater; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells, and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out.

Throw away the following foods:

  • Food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.
  • Perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) in your refrigerator when the power has been off for 4 hours or more.
  • Food not in packages or cans.
  • Canned foods or food containers that are bulging, opened, or damaged, especially if the container spurts liquid or foam when you open it or the food inside is discolored, moldy, or smells bad.
  • Packaged food: Any food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps, twist caps, flip tops, and snap-open, home-canned foods because they cannot be disinfected, and food in cardboard containers, including juice/milk/baby formula boxes.

Water

  • After an emergency, it is safest to drink bottled water until you are certain that your water is free of contaminants and safe to drink.
  • Always listen to reports from your state, local or tribal health officials for specific advice on water precautions in your area. Local officials can provide guidance on the safety of tap water use for personal hygiene (e.g., showering, brushing teeth, handwashing), preparing food, or making baby formula.
  • If bottled water is not available, water contaminated with germs can be made safe to drink by boiling, adding disinfectants, or filtering.
  • If you are a private well owner and suspect that your drinking water well may be contaminated, do not drink or use the water. Severe flooding can put drinking water wells at increased risk for contamination from floodwater that may contain sewage.

Protect your Mental Health

Additional resources:

HHS hurricane web page: https://www.phe.gov/emergency/events/2020-hurricanes/Pages/default.aspxexternal icon


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