As power is restored after a disaster, residents of damaged areas must be careful with food and water, according to the Arkansas Department of Health.
As power is restored after a disaster, residents of damaged areas must be careful with food and water, according to the Arkansas Department of Health. Water safety will also be a problem in some areas, according to ADH information. There will be boil orders for many community water systems as a result of the loss of pressure that happens when the power goes out. Boil orders are issued as a precautionary measure because of the possibility that contaminated water may have entered the distribution systems as a result of a loss in normal water pressure. Frozen and refrigerated food supplies need to be evaluated carefully after a power outage to make sure the food is safe to eat. The U. S. Food and Drug Administration offers the following tips on keeping food safe following a power outage: Be Prepared: • Have a refrigerator thermometer. • Kown where you can get dry ice. • Keep on hand a few days worth of ready-to-eat foods that do not require cooking or cooling, which depend on electricity. When the Power Goes Out: • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. • The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened. • Refrigerators should be kept at 40 degrees or below for proper food storage. Once the Power is Restored: •Check the temperature inside of your refrigerator and freezer. • If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine its safety. You can't rely on appearance or odor. If the food contains ice crystals or is 40 degrees or below it is safe to refreeze or cook. • Discard any perishable food that has been above 40 degrees for two hours or more. WATER: Water may not be safe to drink or cook with, however, unless told otherwise by local officials, it should be safe for bathing, cleaning, etc. • Listen and follow public announcements. Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or to use for cooking or bathing. If the water is not safe to use, follow local instructions to use bottled water or to boil or disinfect water for cooking, cleaning, or bathing. Boil water notices know to the Department of Health are listed on its website: http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/eng/autoupdates/boilordr.htm. Or call 501-661-2623. • If a boil order is issued for your area, water used for drinking or food preparation must be boiled briskly for one (1) minute prior to use. • All ice water should be discarded, and only boiled or disinfected water used to make ice. • Use only bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking, cooking or preparing food, washing dishes, cleaning, brushing your teeth, washing your hands, making ice, and bathing until your water supply is tested and found safe. If your water supply is limited, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers for washing your hands. Feeding Infants and Young Children: • Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. • For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. • If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water. • If you prepare formula with boiled water, let the formula cool sufficiently before giving it to an infant. • Clean feeding bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled, or treated water before each use. • Wash your hands before preparing formula and before feeding an infant. You can use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for washing your hands if the water supply is limited. Related Resources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) http://www.cdc.gov/nasd/docs/001401-d001500/d001474/d001474.html. Http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/foodwater/facts.asp USA.gov http://www.foodsafety.gov/ USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline: 1-888-MPHotline