Oklahoma, www.OK.gov <{$map[0].NAME}>

Contact  |  A-Z Health Index  |  Events & Meetings

get adobe reader

For Release:  January 30, 2010
Contact:  Leslea Bennett-Webb
Office of Communications

Continued Winter Storm Health Precautions Urged 

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) reminds those Oklahomans who will be outside today to dig themselves out of the storm to practice caution on the snow and ice. Latest winter storm injury surveillance statistics reported by the OSDH indicate 232 injuries from slips and falls, 51 injuries from motor vehicle accidents, and 10 cases of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Everyone should avoid walking on ice. The OSDH urged those who are able to move about to check on neighbors who may need assistance, particularly those living alone and the elderly. The OSDH also urged those who are using portable generators to make certain they are not placed for use indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. Generators should be placed well away -- at least 25 feet -- from windows, doors, vents or any other opening. Some persons may be tempted to use charcoal grills, camp stoves or other gasoline/charcoal burning devices indoors during a power outage. These alternative fuel sources can also produce significant amounts of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Some areas of the state continue to struggle with power outages. 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. 

Finally, the OSDH warns Oklahomans not to skate, slide, or sled on frozen ponds, creeks, rivers, or lakes. Although the water appears to be frozen, it may not be solid enough to support the weight of a person. Temperatures in Oklahoma are never cold enough to completely freeze recreational water.

Additional winter weather precautions are available on the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site at http://www.ok.gov/health/Winter_Precautions.html.

Creating a State of Health Logo