Red Cross gives safety tips after storms
BATON ROUGE- Red Cross disaster workers across south Louisiana are assisting residents whose homes have been damaged by Thursday night’s storms.
Disaster workers are also coordinating with parish officials and emergency management leaders to assist in the recovery efforts.
Residents in need of assistance because of storm-related damage, can call their local Red Cross or dial (800) 256-4733.
Red Cross has issued several safety tips for residents to keep in mind. They are as follows:
- Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep family members away from them. Report downed power lines to appropriate officials in your area. Do not attempt to remove trees or other debris touching power lines.
-Sudden power outages can be frustrating and troublesome, especially when they last a long time. If the power outage is 2 hours or less, do need not be concerned about losing perishable foods. For prolonged power outages, though, there are steps to take to minimize food loss and to keep all members of the household as comfortable as possible.
-Using alternative light sources with open flames can increase the risk of a home fire, yet a Red Cross survey showed that more than a third of people surveyed (36 percent) use candles for light during a power outage. The Red Cross recommends that people use battery operated flashlights or lanterns instead of candles. One on-hand source may be the solar-powered lights used around many yards. Rest it in a large cup to light smaller spaces like a bathroom
Keep food as safe as possible
- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about 4 hours.
-A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
- If it looks like the power outage will continue beyond a day in your area, prepare a cooler with ice for your items.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees F for 2 hours or more or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Never taste food or rely on appearance or odor to determine its safety. Some foods may look and smell fine, but if they have been at room temperature too long, bacteria causing food-borne illnesses can start growing quickly. Some types of bacteria produce toxins that cannot be destroyed by cooking.
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it.
- If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
- Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
- Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
- Take care traveling as traffic lights are being repaired and fallen trees cleared.
Using generators safely
- When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning device inside a home, garage or partially enclosed area. Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.