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Safety Issues After Storm

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reminds Mississippians to make safety a priority when returning home and starting the cleanup process.

Power Outages

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 1-800-222-1222.

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Debris Cleanup

* 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.