Hurricane Sandy Clean Up Health Tips

Martin J. Golden

November 02, 2012

 · Drinking water---NYC tap water is safe to drink. If you don’t have water, the Department of Environmental Protection has water-on-the-go drinking water stations at six locations in Manhattan and will keep them open from 9am-5pm daily until power is restored:

o West 23rd Street and 8th Avenue

o East 23rd Street and 2nd Avenue

o West 14th Street and 8th Avenue

o Houston Street and 6th Avenue

o Canal Street and Centre Street

o Monroe Street· Food safety--Any food – including packaged food – that was touched by flood water should be thrown away. The flood water may contain sewage or other contamination. Any food that was not consistently refrigerated should be discarded.

· Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning—

o Do not use generators or grills indoors—Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat when these devices are used indoors. This should only be used outside and kept away from windows and vents.

o Never use stove burners or ovens to heat your home—Using stove burners or ovens to heat homes is a fire hazard that also increases risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If your heat isn’t working, wear extra layers of clothing.

o Everyone should have and use carbon monoxide alarms. Those that are battery only should test the batteries if possible.

o Call the NYC Poison Control Center if you think you have symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning--If someone experiences sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, they should immediately seek fresh air and call the poison control center at 212–POISONS (212-764-7667.) They can also call 911, since poisoning is life threatening.

o Important guides on carbon monoxide poisoning and food safety can be found at· Prevent mold growth—Non-food items that have been touched by flood water should be cleaned and disinfected. This should be done as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Guidance for cleanup is provided on the Department’s homepage.

· Do not swim in NYC waters—Due to power related shutdowns, wastewater treatment plants and pumping stations have discharged untreated wastewater into NYC waterways. It is advised that direct contact with the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay and the Kill Van Kull for recreational activities such as swimming, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing or any other water activity that would entail possible direct contact with the water should be avoided until further notice.

· Coping with stress after disaster-- Experiencing traumatic events such as emergencies and disasters can be stressful, even overwhelming. The stress caused by these events can have a negative effect on how you feel, think and act. If you feel overwhelmed or are concerned about yourself or someone else, you can find help by calling 1-800-LIFENET, a free, confidential helpline for New York City residents, available 24/7, with trained staff ready to take your calls (For Spanish—1-877-AYUDESE; For Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese 1-877-990-8585). For more tips, visit