• If a 'boil water' alert has been issued in your area, observe it strictly. Water for consumption should be brought to a rolling boil and then be allowed to cool and refrigerated in a clean container with a lid. Under no circumstances should water that has not been boiled be consumed until the alert is lifted.
    • Cooled boiled or bottled water should be used for:
      • Drinking
      • Cooking
      • Washing raw foods (such as seafood or salads)
      • Pet's drinking water
    • Dishes should be washed in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher. Children should take bottled or cooled boiled water to school.
  • Listen to your local radio station for updates.
  • When the 'boil water' alert is lifted, follow the water supplier's instructions about flushing the household water pipes.
  • Dispose of all food (including frozen) that has come into contact with flood waters. Some canned food may be kept but if the can is dented or damaged it should be thrown away. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • If power is cut for more than 4 hours, food in fridges will spoil. Freezers will generally not defrost and the food kept inside should not spoil for at least 24 hours if the door has been kept shut.
  • Consuming unsafe food may cause serious illness. The NSW Food Authority has more information.
  • Dishes, pots and pans that have come into contact with floodwater should be carefully inspected, washed and disinfected (see below) before they are used again. Dishes with deep cracks should be thrown away, as they cannot be adequately disinfected.
  • Discard any items made of porous material, such as wood, plastic or rubber.
  • Wash any remaining items in hot soapy water, using a brush, if necessary, to remove dirt. Equipment that can be taken apart should be cleaned in pieces and then rinsed in clean hot water.
  • Disinfecting - after washing and rinsing, disinfect items as follows:
    • Immerse glass, porcelain, china, and enamelware for 10 minutes in a disinfecting solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach per 2 litres of hot water. Air-dry dishes. Do not use a towel.
    • Disinfect silverware, metal utensils and pots and pans by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Chlorine bleach should not be used in this case because it reacts with many metals and causes them to darken.
    • Domestic dishwashers are capable of sanitising all eating and cooking utensils as part of the normal cycle.
  • Dishwashers - do not use a dishwasher that has been exposed to floodwater.
  • Cupboards and counters need to be cleaned with hot soapy water and rinsed with a chlorine bleach solution before storing dishes.
  • If you have any refrigerated medications, especially insulin products, contact your pharmacist before use. Do not take medications that have been in contact with floodwater.
Page Updated: Monday 30 January 2017