Reports of Tuesday’s tornadic activity in Oklahoma serve as a serious reminder to take safety precautions when cleaning up after severe weather.
If tornado damage hits your home, you can call the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 800-522-0071.
“If homeowners have questions about their insurance policy and their coverage, our Consumer Assistance division is here for you,” Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner Glen Mulready said in a statement released Wednesday. “We also understand that the insurance claims process can be overwhelming, and we want to offer any help we can to speed up recovery.”
The Oklahoma State Department of Health and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention offer several tips to prevent illness or injury after surviving stormy weather.
When severe storms hit, power often goes out. Close your refrigerator and freezer doors as much as possible.
Potentially hazardous foods — meats, eggs, dairy products and leftovers — should be discarded after four hours. “When in doubt, throw it out” is a good mantra.
Keep in mind that a freezer can normally keep foods safe up to 48 hours without electricity. That said, a frozen product that thaws should be thrown away and not refrozen.
You also should discard any food contaminated by stormwater, including any containers because they cannot be disinfected.
When cleaning up a home, be sure to wear rubber boots, gloves, and goggles during cleanup of affected area. Drywall or insulation contaminated by floodwaters should be removed and discarded.
Clean all hard surfaces with hot water and detergent. Air conditioning, fans and dehumidifiers will expedite the drying process.
Remember that mud lingering after flooding may contain sewage, bacteria and toxic chemicals. Professional services might be needed before attempting to repair your flood-damaged property.