DPH: Hurricanes: Important Health Information

Hurricanes: Important Health Information

General hurricane resources:

Carbon Monoxide

  • Gasoline-powered generators release carbon monoxide (CO) which can be deadly. If your power goes out and you are using a gasoline-powered generator for energy, be sure that the generator is installed safely and far from your home.
  •  Never use your generator, charcoal or gas grills, gas lanterns or camping stoves indoors or in an enclosed area, like a garage. Gas stoves can produce carbon monoxide. DO NOT use your gas oven to heat your home. 
  •  Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness and confusion. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside IMMEDIATELY and dial 9-1-1 from outside of your home.

Chain Saw Safety

  • Before moving or cutting tree limbs, make sure there are no wires tangled in the limbs.
  • If you have little or no experience using a chain saw, hire a licensed professional to remove tree limbs and downed trees safely from your property.
  • Wear eye/face protection, foot protection, hard hat, ear protection, and chainsaw chaps.

Drinking Water

  • After a storm, water from public water supplies and private wells may not be safe to drink. Water that is dark, has an odor, or has floating pieces should NOT be used. Listen to the news or your water company to know if your water’s safe. For more information on public drinking water systems go to www.ct.gov/dph/publicdrinkingwater or call (860) 509-7333.
  • Private wells that are flooded or may be contaminated should be disinfected before use. Call the DPH Environmental Health Section at (860) 509-7325 to determine if your well water is safe. For more information on how to disinfect your private well, go to www.ct.gov/dph/privatewells.
  • To disinfect water, use ONE of the following methods:
  • Boil at a rolling boil for one minute. Make sure water is clear of floating pieces before boiling; OR,
  • Add 8 drops of liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of clear water or 16 drops per gallon for cloudy water. Do NOT use bleach that has perfumes or ingredients other than sodium hypochlorite as it may be toxic. Mix well and let stand for 30 minutes before using; 
  • OR,
  • Add water purification tablets according to directions on the package

  • Prevent fires by using flashlights or battery powered lanterns, if possible. If you must use candles, place them in safe holders, away from anything that can burn and never leave unattended.
  • Flooding can contaminate your well, making your water unsafe. Information on what to do if your well is contaminated.

Food Safety
  • Food may spoil if there is a loss of electricity. Information on what to do with food before, during, and after a storm.

Infants and Breastfeeding

Hurricanes: After the Storm (English) (brochure, pdf)

  • If you have to evacuate or leave your home, be sure to bring your medications and medical supplies with you. You should bring enough medication and medical supplies to last you for a few days. If you have a question on how to store your medication, including medication that requires refrigeration, you should contact your pharmacist. Persons who depend on medical supply deliveries and plan to temporarily stay at another address – with a neighbor, family member or at a shelter – should notify their medical supply providers to have their supplies delivered to the temporary location with no lapse in their care. 

Sewage Back-ups
  • Severe rainstorms, floods, and even spring thaws can put a strain on sanitary sewers and septic systems. Large volumes of storm water and ground water entering sewage systems can flood them, causing back-ups into basements and on to private property. Blockages in sewer systems can also cause back-ups. Your health may be impacted if a sewage back-up occurs in your home. Sewage back-ups can contaminate your private drinking well water. It can also pollute surface water (lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams, and reservoirs used for drinking water).

Worker Safety

Content Last Modified on 10/1/2015 4:48:25 PM