NORMAN — Transcript Staff
As cleanup efforts commence, safety of rescuers and volunteers is a top concern.
In addition to power lines, gas leaks and ongoing storm dangers including lightning, hail and winds, Cleveland County Health Department officials urge volunteers and residents sifting through the wreckage to take precautions against infection or injury from materials in debris and equipment.
“Cleveland County residents should take safety precautions before they begin cleaning up after the storm,” said Shari Kinney, Administrative Director for the Cleveland County Health Department. “Be sure that you have a current tetanus shot and that you wear boots or substantial shoes and heavy gloves to protect hands and feet from injury while picking through debris. You should also understand how to use a generator properly, and if you use a chain saw, you should wear appropriate protection and follow basic safety rules.”
Anyone in need of a tetanus shot should contact the Cleveland County Health Department at 405-321-4048 or their personal physician. Tetanus shots are recommended for anyone who hasn’t had a tetanus booster within the last ten years.
The Moore Health Department located at 434 S. Eastern has cancelled all appointments through the end of this week, but clients may come to the Norman Health Department located at 250 12th Ave. to receive services.
Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers will be notified when they are needed. MRC will let these volunteers know as soon as possible when and where they are to report.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is also a major 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 home’s 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 are bent, twisted, hung up on, or caught under another object during a high wind.
For more storm recovery information, visit the After the Storm section of the Oklahoma State Department of Health website atwww.health.ok.gov or call the Norman Health Department at 405-321-4048.