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DSHS Reminds Residents in Hurricane-Impacted Areas of Safety Precautions

News Release
News Release
July 8, 2024

The Texas Department of State Health Services recommends using extra caution for coastal residents experiencing flooded homes and electrical outages following Hurricane Beryl’s landfall. Those who evacuated hurricane-impacted communities should wait for official word from state or local officials before returning home.

When conditions allow, Texans are encouraged to check on senior or disabled neighbors and provide assistance if possible.

DSHS suggests the following after storm landfall:


  • Follow “boil water” alerts that may be issued by local water utilities or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Do not drink water from unknown sources. People under boil water alerts and those with private wells that may have been contaminated by flood water should use only bottled, boiled or treated water until water has been tested and found safe.
  • Boil drinking water for at least one minute. Water also may be disinfected with chlorine or iodine (follow package directions) or with ordinary unscented household bleach — one-eighth teaspoon (about eight drops) per gallon of water. Sterilize water containers and drinking utensils with a solution of one teaspoon of household bleach per one gallon of water.


  • Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after clean-up work and after handling flood water-contaminated items.
  • Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or if it has an unusual odor or color. Thawed food from freezers may be safe for consumption or refreezing if it is still partially frozen. Do not eat food that has been in contact with flood water.
  • Babies on formula should be given ready-to-feed formula or powdered formula prepared with bottled drinking water.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers:

  • Generators should only be placed outdoors at least 20 feet away from buildings. They should never be operated in garages, even with the doors open.
  • Generators can pose an electrocution hazard and should be kept dry and not operated in rain or under wet conditions. Also, generators should be turned off and left to cool down before refueling.
  • Gasoline-powered tools, camp stoves and charcoal grills also produce carbon monoxide and should never be used indoors.

Environmental Hazards:

  • It is never safe to drive through water-covered roadways or around barricaded roads. Remember … Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
  • Return home in daylight for best visibility to be aware of any unsafe power sources, including downed power lines. Do not use lanterns or torches until after the premises are safe from gas leaks.
  • Don’t let anyone re-enter your home while flooded unless the main electrical switch has been turned off.
  • Standing water after floods is a breeding place for mosquitoes. Drain all standing water and empty water from outdoor items such as old tires, trash cans and flowerpot bases. Protect yourself with an appropriate insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Do not handle any wildlife. They are often injured in heavy rains and winds. Seek immediate treatment if bitten or injured by an animal. Beware of displaced pets.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes in post-flood areas to reduce the chances of punctures or cuts from nails and other sharp contaminated objects.


  • People with puncture wounds or cuts exposed to flood water could be at risk of contracting tetanus and may need to have a tetanus shot to prevent infection.


  • Wash hands frequently during cleanup to lessen recontamination of cleaned areas.
  • Do not allow children to play in or near flood water or storm drains.
  • Disinfect all furniture, woodwork and other household surfaces in homes that have flooded. To prevent producing toxic fumes, do not mix bleach with products that contain ammonia.
  • To prevent allergic reactions and other health problems caused by mold, replace porous wallboard (from at least 12 inches above the waterline) that has been flood damaged.
  • Disinfect children's toys with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Try to rest and conserve energy and avoid heat stress. Persons with heart conditions and other illnesses should avoid strenuous exertion.

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