8: I5 p.m.
GAINESVILLE - The Alachua County Health Department (ACHD) encourages citizens to be aware of numerous hazards associated with Tropical Storm Fay's wind and rain effects. Downed trees and power lines, in addition to standing water pose several threats to public health and safety.
"The inappropriate use of chainsaws and generators can result in serious injuries and death." stated Paul Myers, Assistant Director of the ACHD. "Citizens are urged to review safety guidelines when using these machines. Typically, more casualties are sustained after a storm event than during it."
Removal of debris such as fallen trees and limbs should be done with operator safety as a primary consideration. Chainsaws should only be used by those experienced and comfortable with their operation.
The use of generators also requires precautionary measures. Generators should only be utilized after the rain has stopped. Wet conditions pose an electrocution hazard. In addition, generators should only be used outside in a well ventilated area. They emit high concentrations of carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can kill in a short period of time. Only a qualified electrician should connect a generator directly to your home; connecting a generator to a home receptacle may injure or kill utility workers attempting to restore your power or neighbors sharing your circuit. Only proper gauge extension cords should be used when connecting appliances directly to the generator.
Flood waters contain multiple hazards as well. Electrical lines pose an unseen electrocution hazard. Never allow children to play in standing water as snakes, ants and other displaced creatures can bite and sting those coming into contact with them.
To avoid mosquito borne diseases such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis, practice the "5 D's":
- Dusk and Dawn - Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
- Dress - Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
- DEET - When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin and oil of lemon eucalyptus are other repellent options. If additional protection is necessary, a permethrin repellent can be applied directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
- Drainage - Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.
For more information, visit http://www.alachuacountyhealth.com/