PACIFIC COUNTY - Emergency Operations Center personnel offer the following advice for remaining healthy following this week's floods:

Flooding can cause big problems for people on private wells. Monitor wells closely. If the well floods, assume the water is contaminated with disease-causing bacteria and parasites; switch to bottled or boiled water.

Drinking water can also be disinfected with a few drops of household bleach. Use 10 drops per gallon of water or one teaspoon for 10 gallons. Don't use scented or "color-safe" bleaches. Let the treated water stand 30 minutes before use.

Any food items contacted by floodwater are considered contaminated and should be discarded.

Canned food or food in bottles should be cleaned with detergent and water then disinfected in a weak bleach solution before opening. "When in doubt, throw it out!"

If you lose power briefly, perishable food items may be safe to keep or refreeze if they're cold to the touch, and have been maintained at a temperature below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your home is flooded, avoid weakened floors, walls, and rooftops. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you come in contact with floodwaters. After floods recede, mold in homes should be cleaned as soon as possible. Wear rubber gloves, and use eye and breathing protection.

Remove all your furnishings to a mold-free area. Clean the surrounding moldy area then follow cleaning directions below for the items you removed and the new space. Bag all moldy materials and tie off the top of the bag. Bring them outdoors and place in your garbage container right away.

Scrub hard surfaces:

? First wash with a mild detergent solution, such as laundry detergent and warm water. Allow to dry.

? (Optional step) Then wipe with a solution of 1/4 cup bleach to one quart of water. Wait 20 minutes and repeat. Wait another 20 minutes.

? Last apply a borate-based detergent solution and don't rinse. This will help prevent mold from growing again. A borate-based laundry or dishwasher detergent has "borate" listed on the ingredients label.

? Give the entire area a good cleaning, vacuum floors, and wash any exposed bedding or clothing.

For more information, call 360-875-9356 or 360-642-9382.

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