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Clean-Up and Food Safety Tips After the Storm

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Staying safe, even after the storm has passed, is important especially when you begin clean-up from storm damage.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 50 percent of tornado-related injuries may occur during rescue attempts, cleanup and other post-tornado activities. In one study, nearly a third of the injuries resulted from stepping on nails.

Other common injuries come from falling objects, downed power and electrical lines or damaged gas lines. As you begin clean-up, make sure the area is safe for you and your family and properly treat any injuries.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department will be offering tetanus shots to residents in the damaged areas, rescue workers and volunteers. OCCHD nurses will be providing the shots in through Red Cross Caring Vans stationed at the Emergency Operations Command Center at 7501 S. Anderson Road near I-240.

Wednesday, nurses and paramedics will travel to affected neighborhoods to administer the tetanus shots.

OCCHD will also continue to offer tetanus shots Wednesday at the volunteer staging area at the Oklahoma County Barn, 7501 S. Anderson Road near I-240. The vaccinations will be available in the OCCHD tent at the staging area from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tetanus shots are also available at OCCHD, 921 NE 23rd Street in Oklahoma City. The tetanus vaccinations are free of charge.

OCCHD is also reminding people in areas with power outages that food stored in refrigerators and freezers can become unsafe to eat if the temperature exceeds 40 degrees for more than two hours. Foodborne bacteria can quickly begin to multiply in perishable food such as meat, poultry, seafood, milk, and mayonnaise. Appearance and odor are not reliable ways to tell whether the food is still safe to eat. People should never taste food to find out whether it's gone bad.

Generally, if the power is off for four hours or less, food in an unopened refrigerator will stay below 40 degrees Fahrenheit and should be fine to use. A full freezer will keep food at an acceptable temperature for about 48 hours if the freezer door remains closed. Food may also be transferred to ice chests to keep cool.

Additional information on staying safe after the storm can be found at the Oklahoma State Department of Health Web site.

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