Public Health issues guidelines related to severe flooding

0
289
Johnson Flooding

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Department for Public Health (DPH), within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), reminds Kentuckians to follow safety guidelines following severe flooding and water run-off events from recent rainfall across the state.

Governor Andy Beshear, who Thursday visited the Eastern Kentucky areas hardest hit by flood, praised residents for helping each other and told them his administration will support them.

- Advertisement -

“We will use every resource available to us to ensure Kentuckians affected by these devastating floods can have a safe and expedient recovery,” Gov. Beshear said. “As neighbors have been selflessly helping neighbors, our state agencies stand ready to protect and assist those who are in need.”

DPH officials have specific flood recovery measures.

“We urge Kentuckians to use caution in flooded areas, and once floodwaters recede and the clean-up begins, to keep yourself and your family safe,” said Rebecca Gillis, director of the DPH Division of Public Health Protection and Safety. “Taking the time to follow safety guidelines related to food safety, mold removal and other issues helps prevent unnecessary injury and illness.”

The following precautions are recommended by DPH:

Flood Waters

  • During flood cleanup, the risk of incurring wounds may be increased. For this reason, cleanup workers should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Td or Tdap can be used; getting the Tdap instead of Td for one tetanus booster during adulthood is recommended to maintain protection against pertussis. Being up-to-date for tetanus vaccine can greatly simplify the treatment for any wound that might occur. Contact your regular health care provider or your local health department if you believe you may need a tetanus shot.
  • Flood-related drowning is also a danger, and often occurs when people become trapped by rising flood waters or when they voluntarily enter flooded areas. Never enter flood waters unless you are escaping immediate danger. Do not attempt to drive a vehicle through flood waters. Carefully monitor the weather conditions and water levels to avoid becoming surrounded by water.
  • Floods can damage utilities, leading to downed power lines and a risk of electrocution. Stay clear of damaged power lines. Natural gas and propane systems can produce dangerous gas leaks. If you smell gas, open doors and windows and evacuate the area.

Home Clean-up and Mold Removal

  • Use caution during clean-up activities. Wear proper safety equipment, such as work gloves, boots, helmets, eye and ear protection, and chainsaw chaps when operating power tools or machinery. Ensure all electrical tools are properly grounded and use ground fault interrupters (GFI) if available. Never use electrically powered tools in or near standing water.
  • Homeowners whose homes sustained water damage are urged to follow recommendations to limit mold growth. Mold fungi can be found indoors and outside and can accumulate in homes affected by flood/water damage. Mold grows best in warm, damp and humid conditions.
  • Signs of mold include discolored walls possibly showing water damage, or green or black spots apparent on walls. Mold also has a musty, earthy smell or a foul stench. Allergy sufferers tend to be most affected by mold exposure.
  • If mold is growing in your home, you will need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Severe mold cases may require an expert to clean up.
  • DPH recommends that doors and windows be open while cleaning affected areas. Use protective glasses or goggles, rubber boots and waterproof gloves and wash clothing afterwards. If there is heavy mold growth, use a respirator or suitable mask to prevent breathing the mold. Remove all wet items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and cannot be cleaned and dried.

Food Safety

  • DPH also cautions people to think about food safety if they have been affected by power outages. This includes keeping freezers closed to maintain the proper temperature for frozen foods. A freezer will hold its appropriate temperature for approximately 48 hours when full and for 24 hours when half full. If you have power outages, it is best to keep freezers closed to help keep frozen food from going bad.
  • Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out for no more than four hours. Throw away any perishable food in your refrigerator, such as meat, poultry, lunchmeats, fish, dairy products, eggs and any prepared or cooked foods that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.

For more information about public health issues related to flooding, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/index.html or

https://healthalerts.ky.gov/Pages/FloodSafety.aspx.

Previous articleFoster child student bill advances to Senate
Next articleYour morning news and weather on Friday, Feb. 14
mm
Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.