Mortuary Response to VHF - 5 How to Prepare the Body
Tuesday, January 1, 2019 at 11:30AM
Hazmat Mike

To begin the process of proper preparation of the deceased victim (body), the first step is to create the appropriate disinfection solution. This is done by choosing household bleach as the key disinfectant. There are two reasons for this;

1] Household bleach is a globally accessible appropriate disinfectant, and

2] Bleach has the capability to mount a three (3) prong chemical attack upon contagions.

This is done by the precursors of the bleach compound; hydrogen, chlorine, and oxygen. All these elements do have the ability to kill VHF life forms.

In an isolated, clean area from VHF and other contaminants, choose a location to prepare the disinfection solutions. This is critical, as you will revisit this area to replenish these solutions as they are used during the incident, so this area must remain “clean” and under control of the VHF response team security. This area may become busy as the need for additional solution becomes necessary so it should be located adjacent to the isolation treatment area.

You will require two (2) basic solutions to prepare for use during and after the VHF incident;

1] A 1:10 solution for excreta spills, bodies, and laundry this will be a (0.5% solution).

2] A 1:100 solution for cleaning materials, VHF/HCW decontamination, VHF waste bio-hazard bags this will be a (0.05% solution).

If usage is minimal, these bleach solutions MUST be prepared daily on a minimum of a 24hr basis. This is because they lose their strength after 24hours in time. Anytime the odor of bleach is not present the solution must also be discarded.  Anytime the solution becomes clouded or visible contaminant pieces are seen in this solution, discard and remake a fresh batch. Note to personnel making the solution: this solution is caustic; avoid direct contact with the skin and eyes. Be sure the selected mix area is well ventilated. Make sure you have the following supplies on hand at a minimum;

1] Large container for the 1:10 solution

2] Smaller containers for the distribution of 1:100, and 1:10 solutions

3] Measuring cups for volume correct amounts

4] Household bleach in gallon containers (unopened and unscented)

5] Water source

Bleach will hold its strength better when it is unopened and in the unscented form. Once opened and or if the scented type this will decrease the 24hr effectiveness rule. For creation and developing a mixing staff SOP follows the exact following procedure.

1] Mix one (1) part chlorine bleach to nine (9) parts water in whatever total volume you choose to use in a 24hr period. This will take experimentation, so appreciate this starting volume will fluctuate from incident to incident.

2] In the smaller containers mix one (1) part of this mixture to nine (9) of fresh water. This solution is now 1:100 strength.

Mark all containers clearly either 1:10 or 1:100 HCLO. Distribute these to the desired location in your isolation area for use by healthcare personnel. Monitor these solutions every half (1/2) hour or more frequently as needed for patient/healthcare worker usage. Solutions MUST be kept contaminant free to be effective in VHF decontamination.

REPEAT PROCEDURE every 24hrs or as needed depending on time or contamination.

Remember this is an ongoing process, so the Goal is to develop a system that will work for your operations on a continual basis and give you the documentation to demonstrate a sustainably safe incident decontamination solution operation.

Next; the procedure for the deceased should be followed using the freshly made solutions.

1] Place the deceased into a body bag or (mortuary sack) and close it securely.

2] Spray the exterior of the body bag (mortuary sack) with the 1:10 bleach solution.

3] If body bags are not available, wrap the body in two (2) thicknesses of cotton sheets and spray with the 1:10 bleach solution. Then wrap the body in plastic sheeting and secure this wrapping with plastic tape. Next; spray the “body bag wrap” as in step 2.

4] Place the body in a coffin if available. If not, place the body in something that can be used to transport the body to either the burial site or burial site transportation vehicle.

Appreciate; if the “coffin” device to transport the body is to be re-used, it shall have to be decontaminated with the 1:10 spray bleach solution before re-use.

Next month we will look at safe transportation of the body.

               Haz Mat Mike



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