With the likelihood of hurricane conditions affecting New Jersey later this week, Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. urges New Jerseyans to prepare to protect their health and safety.
“The DHSS has extensive preparedness plans for health emergencies of all causes including natural disasters related to hurricanes and other extreme weather conditions,’’ said Dr. Lacy. “All New Jerseyans should employ the prudent preparedness measures described in this alert to help safeguard their health and well-being.’’
“Simple preparedness measures can translate into significant protection of health, especially for vulnerable populations like the elderly and those with chronic diseases.”
Dr. Lacy recommends that residents assemble the following items:
- An emergency preparedness kit that includes a flashlight, a battery-powered radio, extra batteries (fresh), a first aid kit, a manual can opener, antibacterial handwipes or gel, rubber gloves, candles and matches, and insect repellent with DEET.
- Five gallons of bottled water per person (to last 3-5 days) and water purifying supplies such as chlorine or iodine tablets or household chlorine bleach.
- Non-perishable food such as canned goods, granola bars, dried foods, instant soups and cereals.
- Prepared baby formula and several days supply of baby food in jars. Powdered baby formula should only be prepared with bottled water.
- Essential prescription medications for two to three days, as well as over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin.
- A family emergency plan that includes pre-determined meeting places in case of separation and also evacuation routes.
Hurricanes can lead to tidal surges and flooding and have the potential to contaminate water supplies. Drinking or cooking with contaminated water can lead to illness. Loss of electricity can cause food to spoil and cause illnesses.
Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with contaminated floodwater.
- Discard any food not sealed in a waterproof container if there is a chance it came into contact with contaminated floodwater.
- If you are without electricity for a prolonged period, use dry ice to keep refrigerated foods cold. Your refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours without power if it is unopened.
- A full, closed freezer will hold its temperature for approximately 48 hours, 24 hours if it is half full.
- Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours.
- If you are in doubt about the safety of any food item, throw it out.
- Do not use contaminated water to make ice, wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash or to prepare food.
- Drink only bottled, boiled or treated water until the water supply is tested and found safe.
- When boiling water, bring it to a rolling boil for one minute to kill organisms.
- Go to authoritative web sites listed at the end of this news release for information about water treatment safety.
General Health Issues
- Wash hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected.
- If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwaters, keep them as clean as possible by washing with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to prevent infection.
- If any open wounds contact contaminated water, see your physician to be evaluated.
- Excessive rain and floods are breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants and use insect repellent with DEET. Remove all standing water as soon as possible.
DHSS is coordinating preparedness efforts closely with federal and state agencies. Residents should monitor local radio and television stations for weather conditions and emergency updates and should visit the websites below for more detailed information:
NJ Department of Health and Senior Services -- www.state.nj.us/health,