- Special Sections
- Public Notices
Editor's note: The following is a news release from the Kentucky Department for Public Health. The hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians left without electricity from the winter ice storm are strongly encouraged to follow the safety guidelines below from the Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) to prevent injury, illness or death. Food Safety - Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out for no more than four hours. - If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when power comes back on. If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer reads 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. - Throw out 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 41 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 41 degrees Fahrenheit or below, it is safe to refreeze. - Fresh fruits and vegetables are safe as long as they are still firm and there is no evidence of mold or sliminess. Raw meats, poultry, cheese, juices, breads and pastries can be refrozen without losing too much food quality. Prepared food, fish, vegetables and fruits in the freezer can be refrozen safely, but food quality may suffer. - To remove spills and freshen the freezer and refrigerator, DPH recommends washing with a solution of two tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in one quart of warm water. To absorb any lingering odors, place an open box or dish of baking soda in the appliance. Carbon Monoxide Safety - Items such as portable generators, propane gas stoves, ovens heated with gasoline all have been used as heat sources indoors, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. - Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage or near a window. - Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. - Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't properly vented. Don't heat your house with a gas oven. - Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Early symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. Carbon monoxide poisoning is treatable. - If you are experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning or if you have questions, call the Poison Control hot line at (800) 222-1222. Hypothermia - Hypothermia occurs when an individual's body temperature drops below what is necessary to achieve normal metabolism and other bodily functions. In severe cases or when the body is not warmed properly, death can result. People exposed to cold weather and those who aren't sufficiently prepared also are at an increased risk for the condition. To prevent hypothermia: - Wear appropriate clothing. Layer clothes made of synthetic and wool fabrics, which are best for keeping warm. Always remember to wear hats, coats, scarves and gloves. - Avoid consuming alcohol if outdoors. Alcohol can actually speed the loss of heat from the body. Avoid overexertion from activities that cause excessive sweat. This can lead to damp clothing, which causes chills. - Stay as dry as possible. - Outdoor workers should make sure they are dressed appropriately and take frequent breaks to warm up and make sure their clothes are sufficient to keep them warm and dry. - Symptoms of hypothermia include shivering, altered speech pattern, abnormally slow rate of breathing, cold pale skin and lethargy. Seek medical attention if you or a loved one experiences the signs of hypothermia. Individuals experiencing these symptoms should call 911 or seek medical attention immediately.