Safety Issues After the Storm
From: MSDH News Release Filed 9/1/08 GCN 6:39 p.m.
The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH)
reminds Mississippians to make safety a priority when returning home and
starting the cleanup process.
In the case of power outages, special considerations
need to be taken with all food and water:
- If your area is placed under a boil water notice,
vigorously boil water for at least a full minute before using. If you
cannot boil water, disinfect by adding unscented chlorine bleach in
these amounts: two drops of bleach for each quart of clear water or four
drops of bleach for each quart of muddy or dirty water. Let the water
stand at least 30 minutes before using.
- Do not eat any food that may have come into
contact with contaminated water from floods or tidal surges.
- Commercially prepared cans of food can be eaten
unless there is a dent or bulge in the can.
- Only frozen food that is still frozen or remains
“refrigerator cold” is safe to eat.
- Only use grills or
generators outside to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
Do not use grills or generators inside a house, garage or any enclosed
space. Symptoms of CO poisoning may include fatigue, weakness,
chest pains for those with heart disease, shortness of breath upon
exertion, nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination,
impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases, death. If
you suspect CO poisoning, call 911
emergency services or the Mississippi Poison Control Center at
When cleaning up
storm-damaged areas, be sure to wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes
to prevent cuts and scratches from debris. Do not let children play in
floodwater, and discard any items that came into contact with floodwater.
Avoid wild animals, which may become disoriented or
aggressive after a flood or hurricane. Although rabies has not been found
in any land animal in Mississippi for more than 30 years, rabies has been
identified in bats in Mississippi.
- Secure all food sources to prevent attracting wild
animals and strays.
- Snakes also pose a risk. They may hide in places
around your home after flooding.
- In case of animal bites or any type of contact
with bats, you should wash the bite or any noticeable wound with soap
and clean water, and seek medical attention.
Anyone who is planning to assist in hurricane cleanup
activities and has not had a tetanus booster within the last 10 years
should receive one. Call your local health department for vaccine
availability. Individuals who sustain lacerations, puncture wounds or any
other serious wound are advised to seek medical attention.
For more information on hurricane preparedness and
safety, or if you would like to volunteer during emergencies, visit the
MSDH website at
www.HealthyMS.com or call us 24 hours a day, seven days a week at