Peterborough Public Health is strongly advising residents to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves and others as the community recovers from the severe storm that hit the area on Saturday.


home food safety

Keep refrigerators and freezers closed often and for as long as possible. A home refrigerator that is left closed usually keeps food cold for 12 to 24 hours. After this period, some food will start to spoil and other foods will become unsafe to eat. Unsafe foods may not show any signs of spoilage. Dangerous foods such as milk, deli meats, dairy products, and other meats should be eliminated to prevent foodborne illness. Throw away any food items that look discolored or don’t smell naturally.

A freezer (box or freezer/freezer freezer) will keep food frozen for 1 to 2 days if kept closed. Throw away any thawed food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours. If food is partially thawed, it can be safely re-frozen. Food quality may be affected, but food will still be safe for consumption if it is only partially thawed.

Consider moving hazardous food items from the refrigerator to the cooler with ice, and replace the ice frequently to keep the food cold (ideally at 4°C or 40°F).

Recreational home water safety

If you have a pool or hot tub, there may be increased challenges with pool/hot tub operation and safety if the recycling systems are not working. Contact a recreational hydrologist for more information about aftercare once the power is back on. During a power outage, avoid swimming in the pool to prevent waterborne diseases due to inadequate treatment of pool water. If the water is cloudy, do not swim as this can increase the risk of accidental drowning.

Residents of wells and sewage systems

Many rural residents and some in urban areas get their water from a well and their properties can be serviced by the on-site sewage system. A power outage can affect the treatment units of both the water and wastewater systems as well as any pumps associated with these systems. Use bottled water for drinking, cooking, brushing your teeth and any other activities that involve direct water consumption. When power is restored, verify that any filters and treatment devices have resumed normal operation and rinse your plumbing system to remove any untreated water by running the water for several minutes through all plumbing fixtures. as a precaution, Collect a water sample As soon as possible once the power is restored.

If you don’t have water because of a pump malfunction, find an alternate water source, and keep using an alternate source so you can sample the water once the power is back on. Use bottled water for drinking, cooking, brushing your teeth and any other activities that involve direct water consumption.

If you use a sewage system, limit the amount of wastewater you generate. If sewage cannot be pumped into a filter sump, your tank may fill up and hold it back up at home or drain on the ground. In the event that you have a sewage backup in your home or if you notice a sewage breakage on your property, contact a sewage carrier and pump the septic tank immediately.

If you live in a rural area, you can get your water from a well and your property may be maintained by the on-site sewage system.

Public Safety

Avoid cooking indoors with equipment that expels carbon monoxide such as camp stoves and charcoal grills. These items should only be used outdoors and away from windows.

Do not use gas stoves unless there is proper electric ventilation running because these stoves also emit carbon monoxide.

Make sure smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety devices in your home have batteries to make sure they work in the event of an emergency.

Portable generators should only be used outdoors, in a well-ventilated area away from windows and fresh air intakes. Do not connect a generator to an electrical panel directly unless this has been previously set up by a qualified electrician.

Be careful when driving. Many of the traffic lights and street lights are out. Intersections should be treated as four-stops and pedestrians have a right of way. Drive slowly, as with no street lights it would be difficult to see pedestrians, cyclists, and other obstacles or dangers on the road. Many roads are closed due to falling trees and wires, so be prepared to take alternate routes to your destination.

It is safest to walk during daylight hours. If you have to walk after dark, bring a flashlight and wear brightly colored clothes so you can be seen.