Louisiana Dept. of Health offers storm safety tips

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The delta variant has hospitals in our area filled to the brim with COVID patients, leaving little room for other patients if another potentially catastrophic disaster were to hit.

The Louisiana Department of Health is reminding people of some key safety tips to remember while a storm still decides its path in the gulf.

The department is reminding people to take a deep breath. Although the threat is possible, it’s not time to panic, but it is better to prepare for what’s to come beforehand rather than when disaster is outside your door. That includes checking off your preparedness list as well as educating yourself on generator safety.

Region 5 Medical Director Dr. Lacey Cavanaugh says during the last major storm, the area totaled more deaths from generator malfunction or carbon monoxide poisoning than the storm itself.

“If we ever get into the situation where there’s not power, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

She also says to avoid possible infection from wading in tainted flood waters.

“Rinsing well with clean water if that’s available, making sure you take care of any wounds and open sores if you do have to walk through flood water,” Dr. Cavanaugh said.

Following previous natural disasters, many of the region’s water systems were placed under boil water advisories. That problem can arise quickly and easily during a storm due to busted water lines or a drop in pressure due to a power outage.

“People need to probably understand what that means. If you’re under a boil water advisory, that means that it’s been confirmed or there could be potential harmful bacteria in that water. I would definitely be very cautious if you’re someone that has a big open wound using water that’s under a boil water advisory,” Cavanaugh said.

In those situations, an alert will be issued recommending you boil the water for a full minute before drinking, cooking or brushing your teeth with it.

Dr. Cavanaugh says if an evacuation is ordered to also keep COVID in the back of your mind when deciding where to seek shelter.

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