The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs advises the general public, particularly those affected by the recent system, that flood waters may be highly contaminated from toxic chemicals, and sewage among other pollutants. As a consequence, the following safety tips must be adhered to:
- Do not sell or use unlabeled food products including canned products exposed to flood waters.
- Animals drowned in flood waters (referred to as cold slaughter) should not be dressed and the meat should not be consumed or offered for sale.
- Establishments including restaurants, bakeries, bars, grocery shops and other food establishments should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before resuming production and sale of food items.
- Products that have thawed out as a result of equipment malfunction or power failure should not be consumed or refrozen.
- Water must be boiled for at least 10 minutes to kill viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
- The taste of boiled water can be improved by allowing it to stand for a few hours before drinking
- Disinfect water with tablets that contain chlorine or iodine
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label or in the package.
- Chlorine dioxide tablets can be effective in reducing the chances of diarrheal diseases which may occur when contaminated water is used.
- If the water is contaminated with a chemical, adding a disinfectant will not make it drinkable or potable.
CLEANING AFTER A FLOOD
The first priority is your safety. Although your first impulse may be to start cleaning, you need to protect yourself from potential hazards. The water may contain sewage or other contaminants and the structure may not be safe. Ensure that you;
- Shut off gas and electricity
- Examine the building’s structure
- Wear appropriate protective attire
- Discard wet items that cannot be used or cleaned.
Cleaning and disinfecting products
- When you start cleaning, you should have two goals: to clean and to disinfect household items.
- Household cleaners (containing the active ingredient sodium hypochlorite) help remove dirt after a flood.
- Disinfectants help stop the growth of disease-causing bacteria carried in floodwater.
- Never mix chlorine bleach with ammonia as the fumes are toxic.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs advises the public to be vigilant and stay safe.