As a result of the recent storms across the state, the Logan County Health Department is providing the following tips from the Oklahoma State Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent injury and illness during storm recovery.
When you first reenter your home:
Try to return to your home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.
If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water. Have an electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning the power on again.
If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and your house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal’s office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return until you are told it is safe to do so.
If the house has been closed up for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for a while (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
If your home has been flooded and has been closed up for several days, assume your home has mold. If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage
OSDH recommends the following guidelines for refrigerated and frozen foods to citizens or food establishments which have been without power for more than four hours:
•Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
•Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers when the power has been off for more than four hours. When in doubt, throw it out.
•Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen—it should be used immediately or thrown away.
•Throw away food that has come in contact with flood or storm water.
•Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened or damaged.
•Food containers with screw-caps, snap-lids, crimped caps (soda pop bottles), twist caps, flip tops, snap-open, and home canned foods should be discarded if they have come into contact with water or soot because they cannot be disinfected.
•Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush your teeth, wash and prepare food, wash your hands, make ice, or make baby formula.
•Breastfed infants should continue breastfeeding. For formula-fed infants, use ready-to-feed formula if possible. If using ready-to-feed formula is not possible, it is best to use bottled water to prepare powdered or concentrated formula. If bottled water is not available, use boiled water. Use treated water to prepare formula only if you do not have bottled or boiled water.
•Clean feeding bottles and nipples with bottled, boiled, or treated water before each use.
•Contact your doctor if you’re concerned about medications having spoiled.
Residents in rural areas may also be without water during a power outage. If the safety of the water is not known, it is recommended to vigorously boil the water for at least one minute to prevent potential waterborne illnesses. Safe water would include store-bought bottled water, or uninterrupted city water. Untreated water should not be used to prepare foods, wash hands or brush teeth.
Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside the house, in basements, in garages or near windows. Improper use of such devices can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Anyone who may have received a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with dirt, feces, or saliva, should have a medical provider or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records. For information and assistance please contact the Logan County Health Department at 405-282-3485.