For Immediate Release
December 14, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461


KDHE Advises Residents to Take Precautions in Response to Power Outages

In the wake of the recent ice storms, many Kansans will be without power for several days and intermittent power outages are still occurring even as others are fixed. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) are reminding Kansans of the necessary precautions to take to protect their health and safety whenever they are without electricity for any length of time.

Going to a Shelter*
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) has recommended that anyone without power should consider going to a local shelter for food, water and relief from the cold. KDEM advises that if you are planning to leave home and go to a local shelter, take specific precautions to protect yourself and your home:

Staying in Your Home

Protecting Against Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
Fireplaces, wood stoves and portable heaters and generators are often used when power outages occur. These and other appliances produce carbon monoxide, which can be fatal if people are exposed to high levels even for a brief time. CO cannot be seen or smelled and can kill in minutes. Tips to avoid CO poisoning include:

Carefully monitor household members for signs of CO poisoning. Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

Anyone who suspects symptoms of CO poisoning should go outside and seek fresh air immediately. If a person has collapsed or is not breathing, call 9-1-1 for emergency medical assistance immediately from a safe location.

Food Safety Practices
Winter storms and power outages mean that food safety issues require special attention:

*Note to editors and reporters: Open Shelters (As Reported to State Emergency Operations Center):

Atchison County:
        First Baptist Church, Atchison
        Effingham Union Church, Atchison
        Lancaster City Hall, Lancaster
Barton County:
        Life-Giving Center, 2100 Broadway in Great Bend
        Claflin Fire Department, 309 W Front Street
Brown County:
        Everest Community Center, Everest
        Horton City Hall , Horton
        Kickapoo Entertainment Center , Horton
        Morrill Community Building, Morrill
Cherokee County:
        Baxter Springs Community Center
        Central Junior High School, Columbus
        Galena Community Center, Galena
        Friends Church , Riverton
Clay County:
        Clay Center High School, Wakefield
Coffey County:
        Baptist Church, 420 N. Maple, Lebo
        Sunset Manor Nursing Home, Waverly
        Waverly Fire Station
Dickinson County:
        Herington Community Building, Herington
        Sterl Hall, 619 N Rogers, Abilene
Doniphan County:
        Highland City Hall, Highland
        Troy Community Building, Troy
Edwards County:
        Edwards County Health Department, Kinsley
Ellsworth County:
        Methodist Church, Wilson
Geary County:
        City Building, Milford
        Spin City Skating Center, 915 S Washington (warming site only)
Jackson County:
        Senior Citizens Center, Holton
        Omega Family Clinic, Holton
        Prairie Band Pottawatomie Casino Hotel
Jefferson County:
        Meridan Fire Station
        Oskaloosa Eagles Lodge
        McLouth Fire Station
        Living Water Church, Oskaloosa
        Ozawkie City Hall
        Valley Falls Fire Station
        St. Matthews Lutheran Church, Nortonville
        Winchester Community Building, Winchester
Labette County:
        Senior Citizens Center, Chetopa
Leavenworth County:
        Fire Station # 1, Leavenworth
        Leavenworth County Community Center
Lincoln County:
        Lincoln High School, Lincoln
Lyon County:
        Flint Hills Church, Emporia
Marshall County:
        St. Gregory’s School, Marysville
        Blue Valley Nursing Home, Blue Rapids
McPherson County:
        McPherson American Red Cross 1023 S. Main, McPherson
        Soderstrom Elementary School, 227 N. Washington, Lindsborg
        Trinity Lutheran Church, 119 N Elm, McPherson
Morris County:
        Council Grove County Courthouse
Nemaha County:
        Seneca Community Building
        East Ridge Care Home, Centralia
        American Legion, Wetmore
        Sabetha City Hall
Pawnee County:
        Larned Community Center, Larned
Pottawatomie County:
        SRS Office, Onaga (Warming only)
        Onaga Senior Center
        Olsburg Fire Department (Warming only)
        American Legion, Olsburg
        Westmoreland Care Home
        Wamego Senior Center (Warming only)
Pratt County:
        Pratt County to the Cannonball Trail Red Cross at 114 N. Main, Pratt
Reno County:
        Trinity United Methodist Church, Hutchinson
        Horizons Mental Health Center – Special Needs
        Turon Community Building, Turon
        Salvation Army, 700 N Walnut, Hutchinson (Warming site only)
Rice County:
        Celebration Center, Lyons
Riley County:
        First United Methodist Church, Manhattan
        Pottorf Hall at CICO Park, Manhattan
        Randolph City Hall – (warming site only)
        Blue Valley High School – (warming site only)
        Riley County High School – (warming site only)
        KSU Student Union, Manhattan – (warming site only)
Saline County:
        Webster Conference Center, I-70 and Ohio, Salina
Shawnee County:
        Expo Center, 17 th and Topeka Boulevard, Shawnee
Stafford County:
        First Christian Church, Stafford
        IOOF Building, Stafford
Wabaunsee County:
        County Courthouse, Alma