JACKSON, Miss. — The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reminds all Mississippi residents to take proper precautions as winter weather moves across the state.
If the power goes out unexpectedly, there are several food and water safety tips to follow to ensure what you eat and drink is safe for consumption:
- If power is out for less than two hours, food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to eat. Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold longer.
- After two hours, a freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours.
- After two hours, pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
- Safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene includes bottled, boiled, or treated water. Watch for specific boil water alerts in your area.
- Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula. If possible, use baby formula that does not need to have water added.
- Boiling water, when practical, is the preferred way to kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Bringing water to a rolling boil for 1 minute will kill most organisms.
Also, cold weather brings people indoors seeking warmth. Any heater that burns fuel, such as your furnace, generator, gas water heater or a portable butane or gas heater, produces carbon monoxide that can leak into the air. Mild exposure to carbon monoxide can cause nausea, dizziness or headaches. Severe poisoning can result in brain or heart damage, or even death.
To avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, take the following precautions:
- Never burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is not vented properly.
- Never heat your house with a gas oven.
- Never run a generator indoors, in an enclosed space such as a basement, or near a window.
- Do not warm your car up in a closed garage.
- If your garage is attached to your house, close the door to the house while you warm up the car.
For more information on winter weather safety, visit the MSDH website at www.HealthyMS.com/winter or call us toll-free at 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948).
Follow MSDH by e-mail and social media at HealthyMS.com/connect.
Press Contact: MSDH Office of Communications, (601) 576-7667
Note to media: After hours or during emergencies, call 1-866-HLTHY4U (1-866-458-4948)