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Jan-20-2012 21:45printcomments

Flood Waters Bring Health Concerns

Several things to keep in mind while the water levels remain high...

Flood in Oregon
Salem-News.com file photo

(MCMINNVILLE, Ore.) - After having the driest December in years, Oregon is facing a wet start to 2012. "We realize that rising water is a concern for many people in Yamhill County", reports Bonnie Corns, Community Health Manager. There are simple precautions you can take stay safe during this storm. Reach out to neighbors who may need assistance, especially the elderly and people living by themself. More rain is expected to come to the valley over the next week. For current forecasts visit www.weather.gov and type in your zip code. In addition to the rain, high winds are expected through Saturday, meaning that the chance of down trees is higher. Community members should be aware that power outages may occur.

Food and power outages

If the power is out for less than two hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to eat. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer. If the power is out for longer than 2 hours, follow the guidelines below:

  • For the Freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
  • For the Refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
  • Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of your food right before you cook or eat it. If refrigerated food is questionable, through away any food that has a temperature of more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do not eat foods that may have come in contact with flood water. The water may be contaminated with bacteria. Sealed containers and cans that were in flood water should be washed and sanitized before opening. Do not use contaminated water for mixing baby formula, washing dishes, brushing teeth or to make ice.

Carbon monoxide

Never use any kind of gasoline, propane or charcoal burning devices inside your home or garage. If you use a gas generator for back-up electricity, locate it away from the house and from any attached garage to avoid toxic fumes entering the home. The most common symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning is headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, open windows, get outside and contact medical help.

Drinking water and sanitation

If you have concerns about drinking water or sewage contact your local utility first. Check for boil-water notices and follow guidelines as posted. For people on private wells follow your normal procedures for ensuring safe drinking water. If you are experiencing problems with your own septic system do not pump the tank during a flood event, this can cause more damage. Instead, wait until the water levels decrease and contact a Waste Water Specialist at 503-434-7516. Remember to not allow kids or pets to play in water near septic systems or other muddy water.

First aid

If you come in contact with flood water be sure to wash well with soap and water. Clean any cuts or wounds thoroughly and apply antibiotic if possible. Make sure that your tetanus vaccine is up to date.

Driving and floods

Keep a full tank of gas in your car as well as water, snacks and other items in case you experience traffic delays. Other handy items for your vehicle may be a towel, work gloves, good raincoat, hat and sturdy shoes if your work shoes are lightweight. Also include jumper cables and a cell phone charger. Ensure that your cell phone is charged before you may need to make a call. Some roadways will have flood waters over them, be aware of where you are driving at all times. Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The road bed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped. Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. For additional information on flood safety check the county’s website at www.co.yamhill.or.us.

www.oregon.gov/DEQ/stormdebrismgt.shtml information about storm cleanup
public.health.oregon.gov/HealthyEnvironments/DrinkingWater/Operations/Documents/welldisinfection.pdf. Information about disinfecting a private well

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Septic-Help January 21, 2012 4:44 pm (Pacific time)

Use All-Natural Advanced Formula Septic-Helper 2000. It has the 8 natural bacteria and enzymes that liquefy the waste in the tank AND out in the drain field. For less than $4 per month.  Check the septic and water rules in your State and County. In 2011 the EPA TMDL Mandates that States clean up their water supplies. A failed inspection would include a slow drain in your leach field, low bacteria levels or elevated Nitrate levels could require replacement of your entire system for $10,000 to $80,000 or connect to the city sewer system. 2011 Septic,

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