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For Release: May 24, 2013 – Leslea Bennett-Webb, Office of Communications – 405/271-5601

After the Storm: State Health Department Provides Update on Injury Prevention, Tetanus Shots, Vital Records Retrieval, Volunteers

As persons in counties affected by this past week’s storms prepare to begin a weekend of retrieval and clean up from the storms, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) provides the following health and safety recommendations and health department service updates.

Injuries

Oklahoma hospitals report they have treated 387 storm-related injuries to date. While working in storm-damaged areas, the OSDH advises the following:

  • Protect your feet and hands by wearing boots or substantial shoes and heavy gloves.
  • If using a chain saw, 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 are bent, twisted, hung up on, or caught under another object during a high wind.
  • Practice caution in using generators to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Never place a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors or windows for ventilation.
  • Any car seats damaged by a tornado, flood, or other severe storm are no longer safe to use and should be replaced. Please contact the OSDH Injury Prevention Service for more information at (405) 271-3430.

Tetanus Vaccination

If you have not had a tetanus booster in the past 10 years, seek one before picking through debris. This week local county health departments have provided tetanus vaccinations to victims, volunteers and recovery workers. To date, the Cleveland County Health Department reports they have provided 412 tetanus vaccinations, Pottawatomie County Health Department has provided 284, Lincoln County Health Department has provided nearly 150, and Oklahoma City-County Health Department has provided 138.

This weekend the Cleveland County Health Department will deploy strike teams in the Moore area to provide tetanus shots and basic first aid. Workers will be in the field from 8 a.m. till 8 p.m. Saturday through Monday. The Moore branch of the Cleveland County Health Department will also be open Saturday from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. to provide tetanus vaccinations. In Pottawatomie County, strike teams will be offering vaccinations on Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m.

Food and Shelter Safety

Even following a natural disaster, food served to the public must be safe. Local health departments are inspecting food vendors who are offering food free or for sale to victims, volunteers and recovery workers in storm-damaged areas. They are also visiting shelters to make sure appropriate staffing and resources are in place to assure the health and safety of shelter residents.

Health and Medical Volunteers

Persons with health and medical experience who wish to volunteer in the disaster relief response should go to the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps website at www.okmrc.org. Currently, health and medical staff resources have been met and the OSDH urges these types of personnel not to self deploy. In the past week, more than 1,500 persons have registered on the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps website.

Vital Records Retrieval

The OSDH has issued a temporary waiver of fees for birth and death certificates for victims of the May 19 and 20 tornadoes in five counties: McClain, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Lincoln and Cleveland. The waiver will remain in effect until June 30, 2013, for those victims whose homes were located in the path of tornadoes in those five counties.

Storm victims can apply for birth or death certificates at the Oklahoma State Department of Health office at 1000 Northeast Tenth Street in Oklahoma City. There will be no charge. Please bring photo identification or other documents that demonstrate your home address.

In addition, the OSDH has established a temporary Vital Records station within the Moore branch of the Cleveland County Health Department at 424 S. Eastern in Moore. Storm victims can stop by the Moore Health Department from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and apply for a birth or death certificate. Services will also be available at the Moore office this Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. and Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, from 8 a.m. till 5 p.m. Fees will be waived. Persons applying at the Moore office should also bring photo identification or other documents which demonstrate your address. Persons can best access the Moore office from the north off Eastern.

On Friday, May 31, from 8:30 a.m. till 4 p.m., storm victims in Pottawatomie County can apply for fee-waived birth or death certificates at the Pottawatomie County Health Department at 1904 Gordon Cooper Drive in Shawnee. 

The OSDH emphasizes this free service is only for storm victims. All other persons who need these records will need to pay the fee and should not attempt to access the Moore and Shawnee offices. No money will be accepted at either location.

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