Making Connections to Local Resources
Questions about food safety after a storm or power outage?
📞 Contact the University of MN Extension AnswerLine at 800-854-1678. You can call this number and they will answer your food safety questions after power outages.
🌐 Visit the U of MN Extension website Power Outages: Keep Foods Safe or Food Safety.gov
Medication Safety: Medications that require refrigeration will become less effective over time if not refrigerated during a power outage. Check with your local healthcare provider or pharmacy to determine how long you can use your medications.
Oxygen Use: If you rely on oxygen for your medical needs, your power is out and you do not have a generator, contact your power company right away and let them know that you use oxygen. You should also contact your oxygen provider to talk about your options, which might include battery backup options such as portable oxygen tanks which do not require electricity to operate. You could use portable oxygen tanks for a short period of time until power can be restored. If power cannot be restored, or restored quickly, you should consider going to an alternate place to go until power is restored.
Well Water Safety: If flood water reached your private well or covered the top of your well casing, you should assume your well is contaminated. Water from your well should not be used for drinking, cooking, or brushing your teeth until flood water recedes.
- If flood water covered your well or may have entered your well directly, have a licensed well contractor inspect the well and clean out anything that may have entered it during the storm. Using your well pump to do this could ruin the pump. You should have a licensed well contractor disinfect your well. Go to Licensed Well and Boring Contractor Directory to find a local contractor near you.
- Don’t use the water from your well until the lab has informed you that it is safe and free of bacterial contamination.
Storm Clean Up Safety: Storm or disaster clean-up puts you at higher risk for injury. If you were to sustain a cut or deep wound while handling debris, you could develop Tetanus. Tetanus spores enter the body through broken skin, such as when you step on a nail. Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, produces a poison (toxin) that causes painful muscle contractions. Every person involved in clean up should make sure they are up to date on their tetanus vaccinations. If you don’t know if you are up to date and are assisting in storm cleanup, call your clinic or pharmacy to find out if you are up to date on your tetanus vaccines and make an appointment if you need one to keep you safe. You need a tetanus booster at least every 10 years.