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Health Department Offers Power Outage Safety Tips

Posted: Updated:
Photo courtesy Oklahoma State Department of Health Photo courtesy Oklahoma State Department of Health

As the threat of severe winter weather approaches, that increases the potential for many Oklahomans to be without power for hours or even days.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health said it has some reminders about safe practices to prevent illness and injury. 

When it comes to food, OSDH recommends the following guidelines for refrigerated and frozen foods to citizens or food establishments that have been without power for more than four hours:

  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible.
  • Discard any potentially hazardous foods such as meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers when the power has been off for more than four hours. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Frozen foods in a freezer can normally be kept up to 48 hours without power. A frozen product that has thawed should not be refrozen—it should be used immediately or thrown away. 

As far as water safety goes, OSDH said residents in rural areas may also be without water during a power outage. 

If the safety of the water is not known, it is recommended to vigorously boil the water for at least one minute to prevent potential waterborne illnesses, OSDH advises.

Safe water would include store-bought bottled water, or uninterrupted city water. Untreated water should not be used to prepare foods, wash hands or brush teeth, OSDH said.

When it comes to heat safety, OSDH said it’s important to use caution when heating a home with a fireplace, space heater or wood stove, using them only when they are properly vented. 

OSDH said to never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices inside the house, in basements, in garages or near windows. 

"Don’t use gas appliances such as an oven, range or clothes dryer to heat your home. Improper use of such devices can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning," OSDH advised.

For more information about winter weather safety, click here

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