Heli J. Roy, Reames, Elizabeth S.
After a major storm or flood, you must assume that all water sources are contaminated until proved safe.
Food that has been contaminated by floodwaters should also be handled carefully. Purify all water used for drinking, cooking and washing eating and cooking utensils. Also purify the water used for washing hands, body and kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
Do not try to purify water that has a dark color or odor or contains floating material.
Store water in clean, sanitized containers.
Always use clean or purified water to
wash any parts of the body that have come
in contact with surfaces contaminated by
Inspect canned foods and discard cans that show signs of swelling, leakage, punctures, holes, fractures, extensive deep rusting, or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
Undamaged canned goods and commercial glass jars of food are safe if you sanitize the containers.
Mark contents on can or jar lid with indelible ink. Remove labels. Wash outside of jars and cans in a strong detergent solution with a scrub brush. Immerse these containers for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach per gallon of room temperature water. Air dry before opening.
Sanitize metal pans, ceramic dishes, utensils (including can openers), dishes and glassware the same way after washing and rinsing.
For additional post-storm and -flood safety tips, contact the parish office of the Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service, the education and information division of the LSU AgCenter. It is listed under local government in the telephone directory.