NSF International offers tips and information for those who are now cleaning up after natural disasters like Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Use these tips to prepare when a storm is brewing as well as for recovery after the storm.

Before a Natural Disaster

  • Find alternative sources of water:
    • Certified bottled water in factory-sealed containers and more facts about bottled water
    • Rainwater collected in clean, food-grade storage containers; boil before drinking to kill bacteria
    • Water from the freshwater storage tank behind the toilet (not the bowl) can be used if boiled first
  • Review disaster readiness tips including a disaster supply checklist

After a Natural Disaster

NSF offers these helpful tips for water treatment, clean-up, sanitation and food safety:

  • Emergency Drinking Water Treatment
    • Boil water to destroy most bacteria, cysts and viruses
    • Use purification tablets, certified distillers, filters and reverse osmosis units
    • Use liquid, not granular, household bleach, following these instructions from the EPA website
  • Cleaning Up After a Flood and Sanitation in Disaster Situations
    • Avoid pushing dirt or bacteria further into your home by starting the cleaning process where food is prepared and work outward into the rest of the home
    • Sanitize using a bleach/water mixture or other sanitizing agent specifically formulated to kill germs and bacteria
    • Have septic systems pumped and checked after flooding subsides
    • Use certified water filters on faucets to ensure contaminants are reduced in drinking water
  • Emergency Food Safety Tips
    • Discard all food that came in contact with flood waters, including canned goods
    • Discard wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers as there is no way to safely clean and sanitize them
    • Wash heat-resistant dishes and cookware in a certified dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle or by hand and dip them in a solution of one capful of bleach and one gallon of water

Contact NSF International if you have any additional questions at info@nsf.org or 1.800.673.8010.