CDC Emergency Partners - Stay Safe After a Disaster

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


September 19, 2017 

Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma affected many areas of the U.S. and U.S. territories. Please share these resources to help communities stay safe during clean up.

Español: Huracán Harvey / Huracán Irma

Keep Food and Water Safe After a Disaster or Emergency

Partial view of assorted emergency foods in a box

Food: Throw away food that may have come in contact with flood or storm water; perishable foods that have not been refrigerated properly due to power outages; and those with an unusual odor, color, or texture. Unsafe food can make you sick even if it looks, smells, and tastes normal. When in doubt, throw it out.

Water: Do not use water you suspect or have been told is contaminated to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. If your tap water is unsafe, safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Your state, local, or tribal health department can make specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area.

Stay Safe When the Power's Out

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Always use generators, pressure washers, or any gasoline-powered engine outside and more than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent. When you use a generator, use a battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide (CO) detector.

Throw away perishable foods in your refrigerator if your power has been off for 4 hours or more.  Freezers, if left unopened and full during a power outage, will keep food safe for 48 hours (24 hours if half full).

Check with local authorities to be sure your water is safe.

downed, broken utility pole

In hot weather, stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.

Avoid downed power lines. If a power line falls on a car, you should stay inside the vehicle.


When Throwing It Out, Separate by Type

Home with piles of separated debris within 10 feet of curb


As you clean up following a disaster, separating your debris by type will help your community clean up more effectively. Place the things you are throwing away within 10 feet of the curb and away from trees, utility poles, fire hydrants, and meters.

Updated Hurricane Key Messages

Key messages cover page

CDC will update this document of main messages partners can use to educate and inform their communities and audiences. Updates are in blue font. Please check back for additional updates.

Key Messages updated on September 15 are available here.