Tips for Residents: Safety after a Hurricane As the City of Norwalk begins its recovery from Hurricane Sandy, the Health Department urges residents to stay safe. Follow these tips for safety related to food, drinking water, and carbon monoxide.
Return home only after authorities say it is safe. Avoid flooded roads and all loose or dangling power lines. If it is warm enough, open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home. Take pictures of any damage to the house for insurance claims.
Food Safety: When in doubt, throw it out!If you lost power in your home, use these guidelines to tell if your food is safe to eat. •The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about 4 hours, as long as the door was kept closed. If your freezer was fully packed, it will keep food safely cold for 2 days. If your freezer was only half full, it will keep food safe for 1 day. •Throw out any raw or cooked meat, poultry, seafood, milk and dairy products, cooked vegetables, eggs, cooked pasta and pasta salads that were kept above 40 degrees F for 2 hours or more. •You can keep some foods at room temperature for a few days: butter, margarine, dried fruits, salad dressings, peanut butter, jelly, barbecue sauce, mustard, ketchup, olives, hard and processed cheese, and bread.
Drinking Water Safety•If you are on City (public) water, your water is safe to drink.•If you live in a flooded area and your well cap went under water, you should consider your well to be contaminated. You should sanitize/disinfect the well and have the water tested before drinking the water from it again. For information on disinfecting flooded wells, go to www.ct.gov/dph/floods.•If you notice any unusual changes to the color, taste or smell of your water, or if you suspect your private well has been contaminated, use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking, food preparation, brushing teeth, and hand washing. If you use this water for bathing infants, toddlers, the elderly, or people with severely compromised immune systems, boil it and allow it to cool before use.•All flood water should be considered contaminated. Avoid flood water, and discard any food items or drinking water that has come into contact with flood water. This includes packaged food and drinks in plastic, paper, and other containers.
Power Outages and Carbon Monoxide PoisoningUse portable generators and propane appliances with extreme caution. If used incorrectly, these machines can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire. • If you are using a generator, place it at least 20 feet from your home and away from neighbors' homes, windows, doors and vents. • Never operate a generator indoors or inside of a garage, basement, or on a porch. • DO NOT use charcoal or gas grills, gas lanterns or camping stoves indoors.• Know the symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside immediately and call 911.
Questions about food or water safety?Call the Norwalk Health Department: (203) 854-7776.