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Decontaminating  Foods
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Mess Management Specialist 3 & 2 - Military manual for maintaining a mess hall
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Avoidance of Recontamination
other countries should use them. The following section, therefore, discusses the nature of biological agents and the measures you should use to decontaminate the galley, messing areas, and food storage spaces in the event of enemy biological attack. A biological agent is defined as a microorganism that either causes disease in man, plants, and animals or causes  the  deterioration  of  material. The  chief  objective  of  biological  agents  is  mass infection  that  results  in  the  incapacitation  or  death  of large numbers of individuals or in the destruction of their  sources  of  food,  both  animal  and  plant.  The biological agents, unlike most other weapons, act on living  matter  only  and  are  limited  in  use  to  these objectives. In  case  of  a  biological  attack  there  are  certain instructions that should be carried out for the protection and decontamination of eating, drinking, and galley utensils;   galley   and   foodservice   equipment;   and messing areas contaminated by biological agents. Good  sanitary  and  hygienic  practices  are  the  best defense  against  many  aspects  of  biological  warfare.  A close examination of the cleanliness of the mess and strict  adherence  to  the  applicable  instructions  will improve  biological  defense  greatly. The  problems  of  biological  agents  differ  from ordinary military hygiene problems only in that hardier types of organisms may be present in other than their normal   environment   and   in   higher   levels   of contamination. BIOLOGICAL CONTAMINATION In treating the problem of biological attack, it is assumed that there could be contamination of personnel, of all exposed surfaces, and of circulating air. Because of  the  current  difficulties  in  rapidly  detecting  biological agents, knowledge of contamination might (although not  necessarily)  be  based  on  the  occurrence  of widespread  or  unusual  sickness.  This  sickness  could  be caused by contamination that had occurred several days or  weeks  before.  A  situation  could  exist  also  whereby extensive  use  of  biological  agents  would  require additional  precautions  in  the  operation  of  all  messes. These instructions are intended for use in the event of suspected  or  known  biological  attack.  The  problem  is to  decontaminate  and  prevent  recontamination. BIOLOGICAL   DECONTAMINATION METHODS Use  calcium  hypochlorite  (bleach)  solutions  for biological decontamination. Scrub the interior surfaces of contaminated spaces with 200-ppm chlorine solution to remove dust and grease. Then, hose spaces with fresh, safe water and repeat the process. You may also use iodine  solutions  prepared  by  the  medical  department. Large  equipment  (those  items  too  large  to  be immersed   in   sinks   or   run   through   dishwashing machines)   should   be   washed,   rinsed,   and decontaminated in the same manner as prescribed for interior  surfaces  of  messes.  Small  items  of  equipment that will not suffer damage by immersion should be washed,  rinsed,  and  sanitized  in  the  dishwashing machine or by hand dishwashing as described earlier in this  chapter. Before eating and drinking utensils are brought to the scullery for decontamination, the interior bulkheads, all working surfaces (tables, dish carts, and sinks), the interior and exterior of the dishwashing machine, and all other equipment used in the washing and sanitizing of eating and drinking utensils should be thoroughly washed,  rinsed,  and  decontaminated  as  appropriate. Eating   and   drinking   utensils   should   be decontaminated  by  machine  or  hand  washing.  A  person who has handled contaminated utensils should not handle  decontaminated  utensils  until  the  person  has been  decontaminated.  Decontaminated  articles  should not be placed in contact with any surface that has been exposed to contamination. If possible, use baskets or containers designed to hold silverware in a vertical position,  handles  down,  during  the  washing  and sanitizing  processes,  and  additional  containers  of similar construction into which the silverware may be inverted without being handled by workers. If such containers are not available, lay the silverware flat in the racks, not exceeding two utensils, with the handles extending in the same direction. Do not exceed a depth of two utensils. Take care when removing utensils from the   racks   after   decontamination   to   prevent recontamination. Sterilization by hypochlorite solution should be used only when dishwashing machines do not operate correctly. The utensils should be soaked, while still in the washrack, for 1 full minute at 100°F to 140°F in a solution of 1 part hypchlorite and 50 parts water in a single-tank machine, or 1 part hypochlorite and 500 parts water in a double-tank machine; one-fifth of 1 percent of a detergent must be added to either solution. 1-20

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