Recovery efforts continue for county

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Members of the Barry County Office of Emergency Management have begun addressing recovery and clean-up at the Emergency Operations Center in Monett, according to Dave Compton, emergency management director.

"The focus of the attention will now shift to recovery efforts," said Compton. "Staffing at the Office of Emergency Management will be from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the recovery phase."

The emergency management staff is now working on recovery effort plans and recruiting volunteer staff members to help with clean-up efforts. The office will release plans and other information on recovery efforts as it becomes available, said Compton.

Barry County residents are asked to fill out Needs Assessment forms, which will be entered into a database for the coordination of recovery services. Need requests will be matched to volunteer services, relief workers and volunteer organizations.

Forms are available at the Monett Wal-Mart Supercenter, the Cassville Wal-Mart Supercenter, the Butterfield City Hall, the Barry County Sheriff's Department, Crosslines in Monett and the OACACBarry county Neighborhood Center.

Completed forms should be returned to the Butterfield City Hall, the Barry County Sheriff's Department, Crosslines, the Neighborhood Center or the Office of Emergency Management, which is located at 100 Maple St. in Monett.

For more information on volunteer registration, donation offers or general services, call the Missouri Winter Storm Disaster Hotline at 888-377-2100 or the Office of Emergency Management at 417-235-0200.

This week, other organizations, individuals and governmental entities have released recovery effort information, which is listed below.

Disaster Declaration Statement

Rep. David Sater released important information regarding how the disaster declaration statement will affect local individuals, organizations and groups.

"There seems to be some confusion about what kind of disaster aid is forthcoming and who is eligible," said Sater.

This month, Missouri received an expedited disaster declaration for public assistance that will help 34 counties across the state, including Barry.

Although the declaration will provide direct federal assistance under the Public Assistance Program that will help with debris removal and emergency protective measures, individual assistance has not been authorized.

Local citizens will not be reimbursed for spoiled food, generator purchases or costs associated with debris removal from private properties.

The declaration will provide assistance for public entities to fund repairs, restoration, reconstruction or replacement costs to public facilities or public infrastructure that were damaged or destroyed by the winter storm.

Governments, political subdivisions and private nonprofit organizations that provide education, utility, irrigation, emergency, medical, rehabilitation, custodial care and other critical services will also be eligible for assistance.

The State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) hopes to begin applicant briefings to inform eligible public entities about available assistance by the end of January.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

With continued power outages across Missouri, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and the Missouri Department of Public Safety (DPS) have issued a special carbon monoxide poisoning reminder for local residents.

All gasoline and diesel generators create carbon mono-xide, which is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that inhibits the ability to absorb oxygen.

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include a headache, lightheadedness, dizziness and unexplained sleepiness. Other symptoms are an inability to concentrate, memory loss, hallucinations and loss of coordination.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause chest pain, irregular heartbeat and heart attacks. At higher concentrations of poisoning, these symptoms may not occur or may occur too rapidly for the individual to react. Individuals who expe-rience any of the above symptoms should leave the area or home immediately and seek medical attention.

Residents should remember to install and operate natural gas, kerosene space heaters and other gas heating appliances in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions. Never use gasoline or diesel-powered generators inside homes or garages.

Utilizing gas appliances, such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers, for heating a home can also lead to poisoning. Portable fuel-burning camping equipment and charcoal and gas grills should never be used inside a home. In addition, fuel-burning appliances should not be used in a room with closed doors or windows or where individuals are sleeping.

Food safety

The Barry County Health Department is urging all local residents to be cautious with food that has been in refrigerators and freezers that were without power for several hours or days during the winter storm.

Food that has thawed can contain bacteria like salmonella and listeria, which can cause serious food-borne illnesses.

A full freezer will keep food safe without power for about two days and a half-full freezer will keep food safe for about one day. Perishable foods that have been above 40 degrees for more than two hours should be thrown away. Food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or feels warm to the touch should not be ingested. If there is any doubt about a food's safety, throw it out.

Food should not be stored outside, because temperatures can vary allowing food to thaw. Food may also be exposed to unsanitary conditions. Individuals can place containers filled with water outside in order to create homemade ice that can be placed in refrigerators, freezers and coolers to keep food cold.

Refrigerators and freezers that have been without power for an extended amount of time should be sanitized before new foods are placed inside them.

Symptoms of food-borne illnesses include: stomach cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and headache. Individuals or families that experience symptoms that they suspect may be from eating spoiled food should contact a local healthcare provider or the Barry County Health Depart-ment.

Water safety

According to the Barry County Health Department, private water wells that experienced a loss of power during the recent power outages are not at the same risk as public water systems that were without power for an extended period of time.

Private well pumps and systems are designed for intermittent pressure surges and pumps normally turn on and off depending on the pressure in the system. There is only a small risk of most private wells becoming contaminated during power outages.

If the well has had previous system problems, such as line breaks, system leaks or a history of unsafe water samples, the owner should consider testing the water prior to consumption. Hoses that were left in stock watering tanks, swimming pools or other water sources without a backflow prevention device could also make water unsafe to consume.

Homeowners using private wells are encouraged to test the water at least once a year regardless of power interrup-tions. Water testing kits can be obtained by calling the health department at 847-2114.

For more information on well testing and disinfecting visit the DHSS website at

Residents who are using public water systems should follow the instructions of their local water utilities.

Caring for damaged trees

Although local trees were seriously damaged during the ice storm, many of the trees will recover with proper care, said Skip Mourglia, certified arborist.

"Because this has happened during the dormant season, fungal disease and insect infestation won't be upon us for three more months," said Mourglia. "If you can properly prune your trees during this three-month period, do so."

Individuals should consider joining with neighbors to rent lifts and bucket trucks in order to share repair costs and complete pruning now, said Mourglia.

"It will be critical to water trees well when we have dry spells during the growing season," said Mourglia.

Individuals should also fertilize trees with slow release tree fertilizer, like Osmocote, and maintain a two-inch layer of mulch around trees to retain moisture and prevent mowing damage to the trunk.

"During the growing season, never use a weedeater next to a thin-barked tree like maple or dogwood," said Mourglia. "This causes severe damage to many trees. Use glyphosate to control grass and weeds."

When replacing trees, local residents should also only plant slow- to medium-growing trees near homes and structures. Fast-growing trees should be placed where they will not be likely to fall onto buildings.

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