The Ledge Light Health District is encouraging residents to take a number of precautions in the event of prolonged power outages or disruptions to water and sewer systems.
The organization says a number of effects from Hurricane Sandy could have detrimental health effects. If you have a well and suspect it may have become contaminated during the storm, you may contact the Ledge Light Health District at 860-448-4882 to arrange for a laboratory test of the water. Residents should not drink the water if they suspect their well has been contaiminated.
Flooding may also result in inundation or backup of septic systems. The organization says residents should wait until the water level drops so that the leaching system can dry out and become functional again. Flooded systems should be inspected by a licensed septic installer as soon as possible.
Residence where sewage has backed up into the house should be pumped out. Smooth, easily cleanable surfaces may be disinfected with a bleach solution. Surfaces and items that are not cleanable should be discarded. Further cleaning should be done by a professional cleaning service.
If tightly closed, a refrigerator tightly can keep the food at or below 45 degrees for about four hours. A freezer can keep food frozen for up to two days if fully stocked. Frozen food may still be cooked and eaten if it remains at less than 45 degrees, but food above this temperature should be discarded. Frozen food should not be refrozen once thawed.
Residents should take special precautions with eggs and egg products, milk and milk products, meat, fish, poultry and shellfish. If there is any doubt about the quality of the food, it should be discarded.
Do not use charcoal grills indoors or gas stoves as a source of heat, as either one may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Fireplaces are safe for heat and cooking as long as they are properly vented. Residents should also check to see if their furnace is venting properly and the pilot light is on following a power or water outage.