How to keep safe in the event of flooding, power outages

If you depend on home oxygen:

Arrange for portable, non-powered oxygen cylinder delivery to your place of shelter to ensure your oxygen supply is not interrupted. Even places of evacuation could face extended power outages that will render power driven oxygen delivery devices non-functional.  Local EMS or Fire Department assistance will not be able to meet your oxygen needs.

If you or your loved ones take prescription medications: 

Ensure normal prescriptions are filled and individuals have enough medications for the next few weeks as post-storm transportation routes could be delayed. Local pharmacies will have limited hours and will be closed during the storm.

If flooding occurs:

Avoid contact with flood water which may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and other hidden hazards such as debris. Do not walk in or play in flooded areas especially in bare feet or flimsy footwear. You may be at risk for possible infection or injury from flood waters. If you do come into contact with flood water, wash exposed skin thoroughly with soap and safe water. Do not allow children to play in flood water areas, wash children's hands frequently, and do not allow children to play with flood-water contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. 

If food becomes exposed to flood waters:

Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water. Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. 

If power loss occurs:

Refrigerators will keep foods appropriately cold for about 4 hours without power if it is unopened. Do not open freezers until you plan to use or discard the contents; as stated above, most freezers will keep food safe for 24 to 48 hours if left closed. Discard any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture.  

If you rely on a private well:

During and after the storm, be sure to boil water for at least five minutes at a full rolling boil before using it for drinking, cooking, making ice or brushing teeth. Infants under six months and pregnant women should not drink boiled water, because boiling water may concentrate harmful nitrates. Continue to use bottled water or to boil your well-water until tests on samples taken since the last flooding or loss of electricity show the water is safe.

If you have a septic system:

Assess your system after the storm. If property is flooded, do not use. Use water conservation practices until power is fully restored

If your home is flooded: 

Assure it is safe to enter. Remove mold and mildew. Dry out the walls. Check heating and Air conditioning. Assure the building is dry before repairing

For more detailed information, please visit or contact the Dare County Department of Health & Human Services’ Public Health Division at 252.475.5003 or 252.475.5080.


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