Power company officials estimate that nearly 330,000 people, two-
thirds of its clientele, are without power in the southern part of
With the outages expected to last several days, state and federal officials are urging citizens to take proper precautions for the long dark spell, including keeping food safe, water uncontaminated, and most important in the sizzling weather, keeping cool.
The Centers for Disease Control (for those with Internet access, a full list of power outage safety tips can be found at http:// www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.asp) says that a power-less freezer will safely hold food for up to 48 hours. Milk, eggs, other dairy products, and meat should be packed into a cooler with ice. Throw away spoilable food that reaches temperatures greater than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Initial reports indicate that portions of the state's infrastructure, which may include water purification systems, have suffered damage. Potentially contaminated water should not be consumed. If boiling is not an option, the CDC recommends these steps for disinfecting water:
* Filter it through a clean cloth, paper towel, or coffee filter OR allow it to settle. Draw off the clear water.
* When using household chlorine bleach:
Add about 8 drops (0.625 milliliters, 1/8 teaspoon) of unscented liquid household chlorine (5-6%) bleach for each gallon of clear water, or 2 drops of bleach for each liter or each quart of clear water. Add 16 drops of bleach (about 1.50 milliliters or 1/4 teaspoon) for each gallon of cloudy water.
Stir the mixture well. Let it stand for 30 minutes or longer before you use it. Store the disinfected water in clean, disinfected containers with tight covers.
* When using iodine:
Follow the manufacturer's instructions. Store the disinfected water in clean, disinfected containers with tight covers.
The CDC recommends that to avoid heat stress, a person should drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes. Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they both dehydrate the body.
Heat stroke, the most serious heat illness, happens when the body cannot control its own temperature, according to the CDC.
Warning signs of heat stroke may vary, but include:
* Red, hot, and dry skin (no sweating)
* Rapid, strong pulse
* Throbbing headache
* Dizziness, nausea, confusion, or unconsciousness
* An extremely high body temperature (above 103 F)
If you suspect someone has heat stroke, follow these instructions:
* Immediately call for medical attention.
* Get the person to a cooler area.
* Cool the person rapidly by immersing him/her in cool water or a cool shower, or spraying or sponging him/her with cool water. If the humidity is low, wrap the person in a cool, wet sheet and fan him/ her vigorously.
* Monitor body temperature and continue cooling efforts until the body temperature drops to 101-102 F.
* Do not give the person alcohol to drink. Get medical assistance as soon as possible.
* If emergency medical personnel do not arrive quickly, call the hospital emergency room for further instructions.
Officials also urge residents to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by operating generators outdoors. Contact AEP if you operate an electrical generator in or around your home.
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