7 Myths About Dehydration

Myth #1: Dehydration is uncomfortable, but not dangerous.

Fact: While most of us will only ever experience mild dehydration symptoms like headache, sluggishness, or decreased urine/sweat output, it can become severe and require medical attention. Serious complications include swelling of the brain, seizures, kidney failure, and even death, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Myth #2: If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

Fact: It’s not too late. In fact, thirst is the body’s way of telling you to drink water, and you are not at risk of becoming dangerously dehydrated the minute you feel parched. When you get thirsty the deficit of water in your body is trivial because your body is a very sensitive gauge. You might actually have only about a 1% reduction in your overall water. The solution is to drink some fluid, preferably water.

Myth #3: Everyone needs to drink 8 glasses of water a day.

Fact: This general rule of thumb is outdated, influenced today mostly by bottled water companies. So how much do you need to drink? Men roughly need to drink 3 liters (102 oz.) every day, and women require about 2.2 liters (78 oz.) per day. However, body weight has a lot to do with it. A good rule of thumb is to divide your body weight by 2 and drink that many ounces of fluid per day (example: 200 lbs. = 100 ounces).

Myth #4: Clear urine is a sure sign of hydration.

Fact: While keeping an eye on your urine output maybe isn’t the most pleasant summer activity, it really can provide a measure of how hydrated (or dehydrated) you are. But it’s not clear urine that you are looking for, rather a pale yellow. (see Dehydration Urine Color Chart)

Myth #5: There is no such thing as drinking too much water.

Fact: Over hydrating can be extremely dangerous – but it is relatively rare. Drinking too much water leads to hyponatremia, when levels of sodium in the body are so diluted your cells begin to swell. This usually causes nausea, vomiting, headache, confusion and fatigue, and can escalate to seizures and coma.

Myth #6: Exercise and hard work need sports drinks.

Fact: If you are working out for less than an hour, water will do just fine. You don’t deplete electrolyte and glycogen reserves until you’ve been exercising intensely or performing moderate-hard work in heat and humidity for more than an hour.

Myth #7: Coffee, tea, and soft drinks dehydrate you.

Fact: Only if you overdo it. While caffeine is dehydrating, the water in coffee, tea, and soda more than makes up for the effects, ultimately leaving you more hydrated than pre-coffee or pop. Consuming more than 3-5 cups of coffee or 40 ounces of soda could put you at risk for dehydration. Just remember to limit your caffeine input, drink in moderation and supplement with good old water. (see 5 Healthy Hydration Tips)

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Using OMAG's SL-RAT - Feedback From 2 Cities That Have Used It

Last Fall, OMAG purchased 3 Sewer Line Rapid Assessment Tools (SL-RATs). The reason for the purchase of this equipment was to loan them to our member municipalities to update and develop sanitary sewer maintenance programs. Following are some questions OMAG’s Risk Management Department asked these cities, with their responses. We thought the rest of our member municipalities might like to see what was said about participating in the SL-RAT program. Here are the responses from Jay Neal, City of Durant and Matt Duke, City of Muldrow.

Question: Why did you choose to participate in the OMAG SL-RAT program?

Answers:

Durant: We have an aging wastewater distribution system. We are seeing an increase in the amount of sewer related issues. Having been in my position only 2 years, at that point, I felt it was incumbent upon us to do a “fitness” report on our sewer system. The SL-RAT tool provided the means to do that.

Muldrow: We knew we had problems in our collection system and wanted to isolate the problems. We also have inaccurate and outdated prints that do not show all of our manholes, or the manholes were not in the correct location on the prints.

Question: Did the SL-RAT meet your expectations as to its usefulness? If so, how?

Durant: It exceeded our expectations. As with all newer technologies, it’s easy to be reluctant to accept its usefulness. However, the SL-RAT proved up to the challenge. Once we figured out its limitations and the best time of day to put it to use, it gave us an accurate picture of our sewer infrastructure and provided the data necessary to analyze it.

Muldrow: Yes, we have a great idea on where our problems are and we now have a good working print (map).

Question: What will you do with the information you acquired from using the SL-RAT?

Durant: When possible, we are keying in on the lines that were substandard to determine which, if any, need replaced or repaired. If we are able to use it again after we have serviced those lines, we will be able to start trending problem areas and creating work-arounds.

Muldrow: We will now be able to jet our problem areas and use the camera we obtained through an OMAG grant to find out why the lines are having problems. We will also be able to make prints of our collections system and have accurate locations of our manholes.

Question: What are some of the positive aspects of using the SL-RAT for improving your sanitary sewer inspection and maintenance program?

Durant: The biggest advantage the SL-RAT provides is to afford our department a proactive way to deal with sewer problems instead of putting us in a more reactive posture.

Muldrow: We have isolated problem areas that were unknown and eliminated other areas we suspected had blockages. We found that just physically opening all or our manholes was also a great benefit, because we were able to find some that were in need of rehabilitation and sources of I & I.

Question: What, if any were some of the complications you encountered while using the SL-RAT?

Durant: There are some variables that you have to contend with when using the SL-RAT. However, these issues are systemic to the environment and less to do with the equipment itself. Satellite hindrances, such as cloud and tree cover, inclement weather, and undulations in the sewer lines that lead to improper or inaccurate ratings did occur. There were a few instances where the two components would not synchronize. Some of those were user error and the others were undetermined in origin.

Muldrow: None, it was a very efficient system.

Question: Would you recommend that other Oklahoma municipalities  take advantage of OMAG’s SL-RAT program? What advice would you give them to take full advantage of their time using the SL-RAT?

Durant: I would highly recommend that other municipalities take advantage of what the SL-RAT can provide, in regard to their wastewater distribution system. The integration into Google Earth and the ability to export to Microsoft Excel for in depth analysis is worth the price of admission in and of itself. Furthermore, it provides an excellent form of accountability for the department and a quantifiable way of determining problem areas and justifying repairs. As far as advice to other municipalities, I would say, “know the general pulse of your town; meaning, know your off-peak times of the towns sewer usage. The tool will provide a more accurate read during low usage times on your respective lines. Have a dedicated team assigned to this project with little or no distractions to take them away from the project. Have a plan that provides the most coverage possible for the time you will be using the SL-RAT. Lastly, work with your upper management to ascertain their goals for the usage of this product.”

Muldrow: Absolutely. This tool gives you a chance to quickly assess what areas of your collection system are needing maintenance and makes you locate manholes that could have been lost over time. I found that having a three-man team made the process move along as quickly as possible. By having two guys working the machines and one in front of them locating manholes and popping lids, we were able to move through town at a quick pace. This tool gave us the same information we had previously paid for, at a fraction of the price.

For more information about the SL-RAT or to schedule having one brought to your municipality to assess your sewer system, contact William Sheppard at (800) 234-9461 ext. 138 or wsheppard@omag.org.

 

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Poison Ivy, Poison Oak and Poison Sumac - Myth vs Fact

Myth:                Poison Ivy rash is contagious.     

Fact:                  Rubbing the rash won’t spread poison ivy to other parts of your body or to another person. You spread the rash only by transferring the urushiol oil from the plant to other body parts or individuals.

Myth:               You can catch poison ivy simply by being near the plant.

Fact:                  Direct contact is needed to release the urushiol oil. Stay away from wildfires, direct burning, or anything else that can cause the oil to become airborne such as a lawnmower, trimmer, etc. There is a danger of inhaling the oil into your lungs, which can result in catastrophic consequences.

Myth:                “Leaves of 3, let them be”

Fact:                  Poison sumac has 7-13 leaves on a branch, although poison ivy and poison oak do have 3 leaves per cluster.

Myth:               Do not worry about dead plants.

Fact:                  Urushiol oil stays active on any surface, including dead plants, for up to 5 years.

Myth:               Breaking the blisters releases urushiol oil that can then spread.

Fact:                  Not true. Wounds can become infected and you may make scarring worse. In very extreme cases, excessive fluid may need to be withdrawn by a doctor.

Myth:               I’ve been in poison ivy many times and never broken out. I’m immune.

Fact:                  Not necessarily true. Upwards of 90% of people are allergic to urushiol oil, it’s a matter of time and exposure. The more times you are exposed the more likely you will break out with an allergic rash. For the first time sufferer, it generally takes longer for the rash to show up – generally 7 to 10 days.

Help to prevent poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac is available. Though there are many products which claim to work, the following product has proven to work for about 95% of people who have used it.

Best practice for preventing Poison Ivy/Sumac: Dawn Dishwashing Soap

Within two hours of working outside around trees and bushes, thoroughly wash exposed body areas with Dawn dish soap and a wash rag. Wash and rinse thoroughly 3 times. Wash down tools and equipment with Dawn and water. Wash your clothing immediately and don’t just throw it in a hamper where it could expose others. Taking time to do these simple tasks will prevent most poison ivy/sumac rashes and reduce the number of claims pertaining to poison Ivy exposures for your municipality.

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6 Things to Consider Before You Jet a Pipe

High-pressure water cleaning systems have become the tool of choice for maintaining sanitary sewer systems, because of their effectiveness in dealing with grease and sludge, along with their ability to partner with pipe inspection cameras. However, before you fire up your jetter and go off to battle underground monsters, there are six things to keep in mind.

1.    What the heck is down there?

 Jetters do a great job on soft stoppages like grease, sand sludge, and even ice. However, when it comes to roots, they are not the preferred tool for the job. If you’re not sure what is happening in the line, you can try to send an inspection camera down to take a look, but if the line is blocked you won’t be able to see much. Remember, cameras can’t see underwater any better than you can. So how can you tell what the blockage is?

 First, if the line in question has anything to do with food service, there is a better than even chance that grease is the problem. Using your powers of deduction, you can conclude that blockages in lines leading from restaurants, multi-family dwellings, and any kind of institution involving food service (schools, nursing homes) are likely to be made by grease and maybe rags. The same is true if the pipe in question originates in a factory or industrial facility that flushes lubricants, solvents, or any type of organic material down the drain. Also depending on where you are, sand can be a persistent problem.

 2.    Shake, Rattle, and Roll

 Does your jetter unit have a way to vibrate the hose while it is in the pipe? The vibration function is used to break up the surface friction between the hose and the pipe, so you don’t get the hose stuck. One of the first things contractors noticed when they invented jetting some 40 years ago, was that when you connect a hydraulic hose and rear facing nozzle to a pressure washer and shove it down a pipe, there is a chance of getting the hose stuck. And anytime that happens it’s the beginning of a long day, because you’re going to need to get the excavator out. That is why every legitimate manufacturer of high-pressure jetters today has a feature that allows you to vibrate the hose while in use.

 3.    Yes, size matters

 Are you using the correct size of hose for the pipe, you are trying to clear? Another excellent way to get your hose stuck in a pipe is by using the wrong size hose, which is surprisingly easy to do. When working with high-pressure water, the philosophy is to use the largest hose that will fit into the pipe. This is because hoses with a larger inside diameter don’t have as much pressure loss due to water friction. All things being equal, the larger the hose, the more pressure at the nozzle. The more pressure at the nozzle the easier it is to do the job.

 4.    Check your water

 Since high-pressure water is doing the work down the line, it makes sense that you have enough of it. If you happen to be using a large device with a holding tank, such as a trailer jetter, your only challenge is to make sure the tank doesn’t run dry. Most of these units have an automatic shut-off that keeps this you from making this mistake. However, if you are using a jetter that draws water from a garden hose, a little more attention is required. Most municipal and well water systems in North America deliver approximately 5-6 gallons a minute in flow, but it is recommended that you make no assumptions. Get a 2-gallon bucket and measure how much time it takes to fill it. If you’re close, don’t take the chance, because you could accidentally starve the pump of water and cause cavitation. Cavitation is the second most popular way to kill your pump, so pay attention to details.

 5.    It don’t mean a thing if you don’t have that swing

 Keep your hose moving. The preferred technique for jetting a line is to work the hose back and forth: push the hose 2 feet forward, then pull it back a foot, then push forward 2 feet and back a foot. The maximum cleaning action comes when you pull back the hose, not pushing it. As you pull back, the angle of water flow exiting the nozzle scours the sides of the pipe, magnifying your cleaning efforts. If you keep the hose moving, you’ll do a better job and do it in less time.

 There is another reason to keep it moving. Because of the fluid dynamics of high-pressure water flow, turbulence can cause vortices to form just behind the nozzle when you are doing the job. These vortices, if stationary for any length of time, can suck sand, loose dirt, grease, or sludge in behind the nozzle, causing it to plug up and trap the hose down in the pipe. Getting your hose stuck in the pipe, no matter what the cause, is a bad thing. Digging it up is usually the only viable option. Again, very time consuming.

 6.    Don’t freeze up

 Statistically, freezing is the number one way to kill your pump. If you live in a place with four seasons, you’ll find it surprisingly difficult to keep your pump from freezing when you are doing work on a frigid day. The damage can take place before, during, or after the job, and can affect your hose as well as your pump. If your unit has an antifreeze tank, please get in the habit of using it whenever temperatures are close to freezing. If your unit does not have this feature, introduce antifreeze to keep it from freezing when you are driving to and from the job. Just disconnect the hose that runs from the output valve to the hose reel swivel. Then pour antifreeze into the inlet as you start the motor on the unit, which will draw the fluid through the pump. When you notice antifreeze exiting the output valve, turn off the motor. Then, using an air compressor to blow the water out of the hose (remove the nozzle). Make sure this has been done before you drive to the job, and again before going back to the shop. During the job, limit the amount of time the units sits without water flowing through the pump. Turn the unit on frequently, running water through the bypass system to keep it warm. If you make it someone’s job to pay attention to the pump, then you’ll improve the odds of it surviving till spring.

 You probably noticed that most of the points can be summarized by “paying attention to what you are doing” and “do your homework”. Jetters are fantastic tools for our industry, able to address most modern sewer line problems better than other tools at our disposal. But, like everything else in life, greater power comes hand in hand with greater responsibility. If you sweat the details, a jetter is an incredibly versatile and profitable tool that can transform your sewer maintenance program.

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Accidents Involving Municipal Vehicles - Do Your Employees Know the Proper Actions to Take?

How does your municipality handle a vehicular accident when one of your employees is involved and operating a municipal vehicle? Being prepared and knowing what to do if this happens BEFORE it happens is key to promoting a successful outcome.

Do you have your employee contact their department supervisor? Police Department?  OMAG would certainly suggest a police report be filed, no matter how minor the accident. 

Do they know how to contact an ambulance service if needed?

Do they provide the information on your insurance verification card to the investigating officer?

Have they been advised to make no statement regarding fault at the scene?

Do they know how to assist the other party with the proper method to file a claim with the city?

If appropriate, do they take photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved?

Are they advised not to make suggestions or recommendations on repair facilities? Making suggestions or recommendations on repair facilities can present uncomfortable situations if that repair facility does not meet the needs of the third party.

These things are very important to be sure that the investigation can be handled correctly. Regardless of whether the city employee feels they are at fault, a thorough investigation should take place to determine liability.  

If you have questions about how to handle a situation like this, or if you need help developing a plan, please contact Randy Stone, Underwriting Director, at (405) 657-1400 or rstone@omag.org

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May 2019 Risk and Safety Newsletter

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Can you delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave?

The Department of Labor issued an opinion letter today regarding the FMLA and whether an employer may delay designating paid leave as FMLA leave or permit employees to expand their FMLA leave beyond the statutory 12-week entitlement (26 weeks for military caregiver leave). The answer is "NO" on both questions. An employer may not delay the designation of FMLA-qualifying leave, even if the employee would prefer that the employer delay the designation. Additionally, an employer may not designate more than 12 weeks of leave (or 26 weeks of military caregiver leave) as FMLA leave.

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HR Tip of the Month

Regularly audit your employee bulletin boards to ensure that all required posters are displayed.  There are both federal and state required posters that need to be displayed in your employee work areas.  OMAG can assist you with your bulletin board audit to ensure your city or town has everything posted.

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March 2019 Risk & Safety Newsletter

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OMAG Welcomes Jeff Bryant as Associate General Counsel/Director of Legal Services

OMAG is pleased to announce the employment of Associate General Counsel Jeff Bryant. Jeff’s pedigree will be an asset to OMAG in the future. Here is an account of Jeff’s previous work in his own words:

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I have served as the City Attorney for the City of Norman for the past fourteen years. Prior to that appointment, I served as the First Assistant Attorney in the City of Norman for fifteen years. My experience includes acting as General Counsel to the City Manager, Mayor and City Council in a variety of areas including drafting legislation, contract review and management, advising regarding economic development tools including tax increment financing, dealing with labor and collective bargaining issues, tort claim review, supervising legal staff, and representing the City in all areas of litigation in state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies.

I have lived in Norman since 1983, and have been very involved in the Norman Community including Rotary, United Way, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Chamber of Commerce, McKinzie Gardens, and Leadership Norman. I graduated from the Leadership Oklahoma Program in 2010. My wife Sherry and I were Norman United Way Drive Co-Chairs for the 2010 drive. I have one daughter who is a sophomore in college and three boys all in high school. We are members of the CrossPointe Church in Norman.

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