Food and Water Safety as Priorities in disasters

Many types of disasters may potentially affect healthcare, ranging from natural disasters e.g. earthquake to man-made events It is essential that infection preventionists participate in all phases of the emergency management process to decrease the  costs, morbidity, and mortality caused by mass casualty incidents as infection preventionists play a vital role in maintaining the health of patients, visitors, and employees in their facility and community. The important skill set of ICP enables them to better prepare for and respond to different types of mass casualty. We are discussing the Food and Water Safety as Priorities in disasters as two priorities in emergency management

Food and Water Safety as Priorities in disasters

Food and Water Safety as Priorities in disasters


Water issues

Deterioration in the environmental condition e.g. water supply, food storage , disposal of human wastes and general supply is one of the most serious hazardous effect following any mass casualty incidence, 2 liters of clean water has to be available for each person per day as a minimum requirements that is for patient and for health care workers plus other amount of water that is needed for other daily activities and infection control needs e.g. Hand Washing , washing of linen and kitchen hygiene , sterilization of equipment inside the CSSD flushing toilets and many other issues and we need to know that water is an important resources that must remain available all the time


It was estimated that we need to have 25 Gallons of water / day per patient for all daily activities during the disasters and it has to have a minimum of 3-5 days water as a backup supply (it can be stored Off site as long as a mechanism to provide as much water as needed to the health care location)

To be sure that water is fine for use if its quality is uncertain we need to purify it either by boiling or adding 1/8 teaspoon of bleach per gallon and mix well allowing to stand for at least 30 min before being used, tap water should be tested for its quality before using and it is better limit usage of tap water if not clearly suitable and use alternatives for the water supply (stored water and hygienic conditions)

Food Issues

Food also need to be provided for all persons including health care providers and patients and any other groups ,food need to be balanced for the physical and psychological health of individuals and during the mass causalities secure food and its safety is one of the big challenges during disasters and need to looked after exactly like water supply


Food services during mass casualty should be monitored for proper sanitation and proper storage and preparation avoid gander zone 45oF to 140oF discarding any food stored in inappropriate conditions e.g. food stored in room temp out of refrigerator for more than two hours food hygiene is so much important as we don’t need to have a new incidence of food borne infection and causing food borne outbreak




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