Record snow falls followed by ice storms stalked by warming temperatures create an environment perfect for devastating floods. With nearly a million Washington residents without power, Washington State University Extension experts have smart advice for keeping people and animals safe, as well as resources for recovering from disaster. Storm survival information is posted at http://ext.wsu.edu and http://cahnrsnews.wsu.edu. On the latter site, look for the Spotlight section on the right side of the page and head for “Flood and Power Outage Information.”
Both sites provide links to pages offering information on the following topics:
- WSU Extension disaster recovery experts and links to more information.
- Food Safety During Flood Conditions
- Food Safety After Power Outages
- Animals (livestock care in flood conditions)
Especially during floods and power outages, the opportunity for health-hazardous pathogens to grow is multiplied many fold. Floodwaters can contain foodborne pathogens, sewage, petroleum products and heavy metals as well as other contaminants. Some contaminants cannot be removed using standard cleaning and sanitation practices and cannot be removed using proper cooking procedures. Indeed, FDA guidelines state that many food products must be destroyed after exposure to flood waters.
Feel free to use information from these science-based tip sheets or to publicize their availability.