After Power Outages: Safety Tips
For more information, call (505) 768-2638.
In the wake of widespread power outages resulting from recent severe storms, the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department is urging those affected to take extra food safety precautions to protect themselves. Lack of refrigeration can quickly lead to food spoilage that can cause moderate to severe food-borne illness.
Food 'Danger Zone'
Foods that have been in the temperature danger zone for longer than 2 hours should be discarded. Temperatures within the range 41 degrees Fahrenheit and 135 degrees Fahrenheit are optimal for rapid bacterial growth; above and below this range, the risk is significantly lowered.
Likely to Spoil
Foods that are most likely to spoil quickly without refrigeration include:
- Milk and cheese
- Raw or packaged meat, especially hot dogs
- Canned foods that have been opened
- Pre-packaged frozen foods
- Gravy and sauces
- Cream pies
- Anything with the label "Keep Refrigerated After Opening"
Foods that are most likely safe to keep include bread, pickles, condiments, and fruits and vegetables provided they are raw and uncut.
Remember: when in doubt, throw it out.
Flooding water can contain bacteria, chemical runoff or sewage. The public is advised to use proper hygiene, especially hand-washing, when exposed to these waters or surfaces contaminated by them. Thorough cleaning and sanitation of exposed areas is recommended.
Severe contamination or damage will likely require professional remediation.
Mold can develop in areas that have been flooded or waterlogged. There are many types of mold, and only a few are highly dangerous, however many people may have allergic reactions to even relatively harmless molds.
Mold should be thoroughly remediated before it can spread. Areas less than 10 square feet can be cleaned by the resident; more extensive mold will require professional remediation.
There are no legal standards for mold, therefore the City of Albuquerque does not have the legal authority to force landlords or property owners to address mold.
Ponding water that remains in an area longer than a few days can harbor mosquitoes.
In order to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in standing water, the community is urged to eliminate water sources by leveling or backfilling if possible, emptying containers that hold water, or reporting significant standing water sources to 311 so that the mosquito control program can address them.
The greater numbers of mosquitoes expected after significant flooding can increase the risk of contracting West Nile virus.
The public should take precautions when mosquitoes are present, including wearing long sleeves and long pants, avoiding outdoor exposures when mosquito activity is at its peak (dawn and dusk) and using insect repellents that are proven to be effective (DEET, Picaridin). Mosquito control spraying is available throughout Bernalillo County; requests can be made by calling 311.