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Post-Disaster Safety Tips

Food Safety
In the event of a power outage, the following should be discarded:

  • Perishable foods including meats, dairy products and eggs that have not been refrigerated for more than two hours.
  • Foods contaminated by floodwaters.

Flood Safety

  • Walking, swimming, or driving through floodwaters is extremely dangerous. Fast-moving floodwater produces more force than most people imagine. Floodwaters often contain sewage and dangerous bacteria levels.
  • If you are driving and come upon floodwaters, stop, turn around and go another way.
  • Do not drive where water is covering the road.

Water Purification

  • Residents under a boil water notice should bring water to a rolling boil for one minute.
  • Drink bottled water if available.
  •  If you cannot boil water, add six drops of unscented household bleach per one gallon of water and let stand for thirty minutes prior to use. Water purification tablets are also available at most pharmacies and sporting goods stores.

Generator Safety
Portable generators can be hazardous if used improperly. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless and odorless gas produced by incomplete combustion in internal-combustion engines. CO poses a serious health risk due to its ability to displace Oxygen. Carbon monoxide is fast becoming a killer among people of all ages.
To avoid CO poisoning:

  • Only operate generators outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home.
  • Never use generators indoors or in attached garages.

To avoid electrocution:

  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
  • Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
  • Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
  • If you must connect the generator into the house wiring, have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system.

Chainsaw Safety

  • Wear protective clothing, including grip gloves, a hard hat, safety goggles, hearing protection, non-slip steel-toe shoes and trim-fitted clothing that won’t get caught in the chain.
  • Follow instructions in the owner’s manual for starting and operating the saw.
  • Stand to the side of the saw so you won’t follow the cut through into your leg.
  • Hold the saw parallel to the ground, holding your left arm straight for better control and to reduce the chance of kickback.
  • Keep both hands on the saw while it is running.
  • Avoid cutting above mid-chest height.
  • Never try to cut a tree with a diameter greater than the length of the chainsaw blade.
  • Be extremely careful when cutting limbs or stems of trees that are bent or under tension; the branch can spring back into the operator.
  • Carry the saw below the waist with the engine off and bar pointed to the rear.
  • Do not work alone. Have a companion nearby and keep bystanders and helpers at a safe distance.
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