Protection of Food and Water
Food and water supplies are especially susceptible
to deliberate contamination. Civilian supplies which
all too frequently do not receive careful supervision
and protectionmust always be suspected of
accidental or deliberate contamination. It should also
be emphasized that water is not necessarily pure just
because it comes from a faucet. In some countries pure
water is the exception rather than the rule. The safest
rule is to consume only food and drinks received from
Procedures for protection of the
water supply and routines for inspection and
decontamination are well defined in the military and, if
diligently observed, will protect from deliberate
FOOD.In the event of a known or suspected
biological attack, all exposed or unpackaged foods not
in critical supply should be destroyed.
instances, food can be rendered safe for consumption
by application of moist-heat cooking procedures. In
some instances, deep-fat cooking is adequate. Some
foods, however, cannot be sterilized because the
treatment would render them unacceptable for
WATER.Chlorination is by far the almost
universal method of purifying water, and it destroys
most of the biological agents. Boiling may be required
to ensure proper decontamination in exceptional cases.
The military establishes water points in the field
whenever possible. The equipment location at these
points provides for filtration as well as chlorination
and, when properly operated, is effective in removing
organisms that produce disease.
agents cannot be destroyed by normal water-
purification techniques. When biological agents are
known to have been used, all drinking water must be
boiled. In the preparation of water for large numbers,
the boiling procedure should be supervised. Water
boiling may, of necessity, become an individual
responsibility and may be so directed.
For small groups of people, the Lyster bag is
provided as a suitable container for the storage of water
that has already been treated. Water that has not been
made potable previously is purified in the Lyster bag
by means of chemicals. Water purification procedures
are discussed in detail in the Preventive Medicine
Manual, NAVMED P-5010.
Personal decontamination following actual or
suspected exposure to biological agents will depend
upon the existing tactical situation and the facilities
If the situation permits, contaminated
clothing should be carefully removed and the body
washed thoroughly with soap and water before
donning fresh clothing. Specific attention should be
given to decontamination and treatment of skin
Normally, each individual is responsible for his
own decontamination. If a person is physically unable
to decontaminate himself, this process has to be
performed by other available personnel. Since illness
resulting from exposure to biological warfare may be
delayed because of the incubation period, decontam-
ination may occur before the individual becomes ill.
Decontamination of the wounded is the responsibility
of Medical Department personnel. When the situation
and the condition of the casualty permit, decontami-
nation should come first. However, massive hemor-
rhage, asphyxia, or other life-endangering conditions
naturally receive priority.
In general, all candidates for decontamination
should first have all exposed areas thoroughly washed
with soap and large amounts of water, the mask
adjusted, and all contaminated clothing removed. The
casualty may then be moved to a clean area where the
wounds can be treated.
Decontamination procedures are the same as those
used for casualties of chemical warfare.
Radiologicalthe R in CBRwarfare is more
frequently referred to as nuclear warfare.
principles of treatment of casualties, as developed
from previous experiences in conventional warfare,
are applicable in the treatment of casualties produced
by radiological warfare.
With the exception of
ionizing radiation effects, the type of injuries produced
in nuclear warfare are similar to those of conventional
warfare. Standardized techniques of treatment must be
adopted for all types of casualties so the greatest
number of patients can receive maximum medical care
in the shortest period of time with the greatest
economy of medical personnel and equipment.