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Health and Safety Precautions for Power Outages and Floods

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. With power outages and flooding, the risks of contaminated water and foodborne illnesses increase. County residents are encouraged to monitor freezer and refrigerator food temperatures. If power has been off for an extended period of time, the Snohomish Health District advises residents and businesses to discard all potentially hazardous foods. When in doubt, throw it out!


Staff in the Food Safety Program are out in the field working with food service establishments to ensure proper protocols are being followed. All food service establishments without power should take appropriate measures for food safety and remain closed until power is restored. They should notify the Snohomish Health District Environmental Health desk at 425-339-8730 if their establishment has closed, or if there are additional questions. Please review the Washington State Department of Health’s recommendations for power outage food safety at  


            RESOURCES:  Food Safety Temperatures

                                      Cleaning Up After a Flood


Flooding Reminders:

  • Shut off all electrical power and natural gas or propane tanks. Notify the gas company or the police/fire departments immediately if you smell gas or suspect a gas leak.
  • Flood waters might be contaminated and can make you sick if you drink it or eat flood-contaminated food.
  • If you have an open sore or wound, keep the wound as clean as possible as soon as possible by washing with soap and clean water.
  • Parents and caregivers should not allow children to play in flood waters or with toys that flood water has touched. Disinfect contaminated toys with a solution of 1 cup of bleach mixed with 5 gallons of water. Wash children’s hands frequently, and always before meals.
  • Do not use water from a private water system that’s been flooded. Use only boiled or treated water. Bring the water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute before using. Water for brushing teeth, washing dishes or foods, requires the same treatment as drinking water.
  • Check your septic tank and pump it out after flood waters recede. You may need to replace your septic system if it is severely damaged or corroded.


The Snohomish Health District works for a safer and healthier community through disease prevention, health promotion, and protection from environmental threats. To read more about the District and for important health information, visit