The winter storm that has hit Oregon over the past few days has brought hardship to many people in our state both at work and at home. As the downpour has turned to flooding in many areas, please make sure you take care of yourselves and your families.
At OHA, we are involved in this emergency response in several ways. We are working very closely with the Department of Administrative Services and Department of Human Services to make sure all our employees have timely, accurate information about how events are affecting our workplaces. You can also keep apprised of office closures at the state's Building Closures website.
Additionally, as part of the statewide public safety emergency response, our team in Public Health coordinates with the state's Office of Emergency Management, hospital systems, tribes, and local, state and federal agencies during emergency events.
The effects of the storm include power outages and road closures, and the risk of storm-related injuries. Public Health provides the following tips to stay safe during and after the storm:
- Injury Prevention: Stay out of flood waters. Even the strongest swimmers can drown in flood waters. Do not drive through standing water. Never make contact with power lines or objects that are in contact with power lines. Wear eye protection when cleaning up storm debris.
- Water: Check for local boil-water advisories. Do not use contaminated water to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, make ice or make baby formula.
- Well water: If your well has been affected by flood waters, boil your water for at least one minute at a rolling boil, or purchase water from a safe source. Before resuming normal use of the well, have the water tested for possible bacteria and pollutants.
- Foods: Do not eat foods that have come in contact with flood waters. Throw away food that cannot be kept cold or properly heated due to lack of power.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning: Don't use a generator, pressure washer, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, seek fresh air and consult with a health care professional right away.
- Home safety: If there is standing water in your home, never turn power on or off yourself – contact an electrician.
- First Aid: Immediately clean all wounds with soap and clean water. If your skin or eyes come in contact with hazardous materials wash thoroughly with decontaminated water. Avoid getting cut because cuts can lead to tetanus. If possible, make sure your tetanus vaccination is up to date.
- Mold: Remove mold by washing with soap and water and letting surfaces dry completely. Some materials such as moldy clothing, ceiling tiles and sheet rock may have to be replaced. If mold-related illness is suspected, consult a health care professional.
I want to thank everyone in the Public Health Division who has been working to protect the public during this event and also everyone in OHA who is helping ensure that our employees are safe at work during this event.