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For Release:  May 13, 2010
Contact:  Larry Weatherford
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Don’t Let One Disaster Follow Another -- Health Department Urges Simple Steps to Assure Safety After Tornadoes Strike

The old saying “one disaster after another” shouldn’t apply in Oklahoma if everyone will follow a few simple steps in cleaning up after the recent tornadoes.

“Everyone needs to take a breath before they dive in to cleaning up to make sure they are properly protected,” said Tina Johnson, administrative director of the Pottawatomie County Health Department. “Think about getting a tetanus shot, making sure you use generators properly, and be sure that anyone using a chain saw wears proper protection and follows basic safety rules.  There is no need for this to be worse that it already is because of accidental injury.”

Since Monday’s storm, teams of public health employees have been providing tetanus vaccinations at the Tecumseh City Hall, at Grace Community Church at the corner of Cathey and Highland in Tecumseh, and at the Pottawatomie County Health Department.  No appointments are necessary.

Tetanus shots are recommended for anyone who hasn’t had a tetanus booster within the last ten years. Health department teams are also going door-to-door offering tetanus shots.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a concern as residents without power use generators near homes. Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off. 

Generators should be a sufficient distance from a home and anyone feeling dizzy around a generator should immediately get outside to fresh air.  In addition, never connect the generator directly to the homes electrical system due to the potential of backfeed electricity harming crews trying to restore power.

If you must use a chain saw, follow the instructions to be safe. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, thick work gloves, chaps, and boots. Always hold the saw at waist level or below, and make sure that others remain far away. Take extra care in cutting “spring poles”: trees or branches that have gotten bent, twisted, hung up on, or caught under another object during a high wind.

For more storm recovery information, visit the Coping After The Storm section of the OSDH website at www.Health.OK.gov.

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