As parts of the area serviced by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) begin to recover following Saturday’s severe storm, the health unit is reminding residents to be mindful of food and water safety practices following power outages.
When your home loses power, perishable foods in your fridge and freezer will remain safe to consume for a limited time. Once the following timelines have been reached, food is no longer safe to eat and must be discarded:
- Food in the refrigerator will keep cold for about four to six hours, if the door is kept closed
- Food in a full freezer will remain frozen for about 48 hours
- Food in a half full freezer will remain frozen for about 24 hours
“Unfortunately, this means that anyone in our area who still has no power must discard all perishable food items,” says Dr. Paul Roumeliotis, Medical Officer of Health.
“Given the rising cost of groceries, I know throwing food out is especially painful now, but it’s not worth consuming food that may have spoiled and risking food poisoning,” Roumeliotis says
Check out the My Health section at EOHU.ca for more information about food safety.
Water safety is also a concern when your home has lost power, especially if your home is serviced by a well. Ensure your well water is safe to consume by bringing it to a rolling boil for a minute and then letting it cool before using. You can boil your water using a barbecue.
If you suspect your well water is contaminated, it’s best to use bottled water for drinking, brushing your teeth, cooking, cleaning dishes, bathing, and making infant formula. You may also use ready-to-serve infant formula if you’re concerned about water safety.
Once power is restored, flush all lines by letting the water run for 5 minutes and have your well water tested. Visit your nearest EOHU office to pick up and drop off a well water sample bottle.
If you have a water treatment system for your well water, such as an ultraviolet light, make sure the system is running properly when the power comes back on.
For more information about how to keep your family safe in an emergency, please visit EOHU.ca.