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Tornado Aftermath: Recovering from the Storm

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) is reporting that the counties affected by the May 10, 2010 tornado outbreak include Carter, Cleveland, Grady, Grant, Kay, Lincoln, McClain, McIntosh, Noble, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, and Seminole.  

There are currently three shelters operating:

Harrah Church
101 S. Dobbs

Tecumseh City Hall
14 N. Broadway

Cromwell Fire Dept. (Red Cross supported)
412 S. Shawnee



The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) offers the following recommendations for coping after severe weather:

Injury may result from the direct impact of a tornado, or it may occur afterward when people walk among debris and enter damaged buildings.  Other common causes of injury included falling objects and heavy, rolling objects. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines, or electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution, or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and using extreme care to avoid further hazards.  For more information click here.

Food Safety

Power outages present problems with food safety as well as with heating. If people at home or those in food establishments have had a loss of power for more than four hours, take the following precautions with refrigerated food products

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers that may have exceeded 41 F. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. Again, the 41 F rule applies. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen—it should be used immediately or disposed of. Thawed foods that have not reached 41 F can be cooked and consumed.

For more on keeping food safe after a power outage click here.

Children's Needs

After severe weather, children may be afraid the disaster will come back again and they will be injured or left alone. Children may even interpret disasters as punishment for real or imagined misdeeds. Explain that these are natural events.

Children will be less likely to experience prolonged fear or anxiety if they know what to expect after a tornado. Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk about your own experiences with severe storms, or read aloud a book about tornadoes.
  • Encourage your child to express feelings of fear. Listen carefully and show understanding.
  • Offer reassurance. Tell your child that the situation is not permanent, and provide physical reassurance through time spent together and displays of affection.
  • Include your child in clean-up activities. It is comforting to children to watch the household begin to return to normal and to have a job to do.

OSDH offers a variety of resources on their web site to help parents address their children's concerns.  Click here to view those materials.



The Oklahoma City-County Health Department (OCCHD) will be offering tetanus shots today (5/11/10) to residents in the damaged areas, rescue workers and volunteers.  Tetanus shots are recommended for anyone who hasn’t had a tetanus booster within the last ten years. OCCHD nurses will be providing the shots through Blue Cross Blue Shield Caring Vans stationed at the volunteer staging area at the Oklahoma County Barn, 7501 S. Anderson Road near I-240.  Tetanus shots are also available at OCCHD, 921 NE 23rd Street in Oklahoma City.

(updated 5/11/10 at 10:40 a.m.)