Weather-Related Emergencies

As a Coastal County, hurricanes are our main concern in terms of weather-related emergencies. The following information lists the ways in which you can prevent "Health Risks After the Storm".

Prevent Illness From Food
  • Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with dirty water from floods or tidal surges
  • Do not eat from cans that are bulging or opened. Cans that are not opened can be saved if you remove the labels and then disinfect them by using ¼ cup of bleach in a one gallon of clean water.  Assume that home-canned foods are unsafe and throw them out
  • Refrigerators and freezers that have been without power since the storm should be cleaned out. Perishables are unsafe for eating
Prevent Illness From Water
  • Effects of a hurricane can increase the risk of contaminated drinking water. If your private well was flooded, use bottled or boiled water until you know your water is safe to drink. If your private drinking water well was flooded, call the Health Department at 252-728-8499 to have your well water tested
  • If there is a “Boil Water Notice” use bottled water or boil the water you need to use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and washing hands for at least one minute
  • If you do not have bottled water or cannot boil the water, disinfect your water by adding plain household bleach. Use ¼ teaspoon or 16 drops of bleach per gallon, shake and let stand for 30 minutes
Prevent Illness From Heat Exhaustion
  • Warning signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, or vomiting. It is important to cool off by drinking cool, nonalcoholic beverages, taking a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, and wearing lightweight clothing
  • Heat exhaustion may lead to a heat stroke. These symptoms include cool moist skin, a pulse rate that is fast and weak, and breathing fast and shallow. Seek medical attention immediately if symptoms last longer than one hour, or you have heart problems or high blood pressure
Prevent Illness From Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless and highly poisonous gas. The major cause of carbon monoxide poisoning after a storm is from using a gas powered generator or other gas powered equipment in poorly ventilated areas. Do not use generators, power washers, or gas grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent, or fireplace.