Stay warm and safe this winter

Published 7:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

This past week, a strong winter weather system moved across Mississippi, leaving many parts of the state to deal with snow and heavy rains. Whether we plan to stay at home in Pearl River County or travel in the near future, it’s essential we follow the rules and prepare for the possibility of severe weather conditions, especially since winter won’t be over until March.

The Mississippi State Department of Health offered the following safety tips in a press release on how to stay safe at home if the power goes out during a storm:

—  Refrigerated food is safe to eat if the power is out for less than two hours.

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—  After those two hours, a freezer that’s half full can preserve food safely for up to 24 hours, while a full freezer can hold food up to 48 hours.

—  Pack milk, dairy products and meat inside a cooler with ice after two hours of power loss.

—  Drink bottled, boiled or treated water. Stay alert to any boil water alerts. If it’s necessary, boil water for one minute to kill organisms before consumption.

During wintertime, people often use heaters, including furnaces and generators, to stay warm at home. However, fuel-burning equipment can be hazardous, producing carbon monoxide that can poison the air. The results can be life-threatening, causing nausea, headaches, brain or heart damage or death, according to the press release.

In order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, avoid heating a home with a gas oven, don’t warm a car in a closed garage, never burn any item in a stove or fireplace that’s not vented and don’t run a generator in an enclosed space.

By following these guidelines, you can help deter any problems and get through the winter season as painlessly as possible.