During a water supply emergency (W.S.E.), including boil water advisories/notices, chemical contamination, or pressure reduction, water may serve as a source of contamination for medical/dental equipment, utensils and hands. Unsafe water is also a vector in the transmission of disease. During a Boil Water Advisory, you should assume that the water is unsafe. Therefore, in order to provide protection to patients and employees, water should be obtained from sources regulated by law and should be handled, transported and dispensed in a sanitary manner.
NOTE: In case of chemical contamination or total loss of pressure, it is recommended that the establishment close. When chemical contamination occurs, the establishment should not reopen until samples, jointly approved by the Cabinet or local health department and the Division of Water, Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, justify reopening.
In non-chemical contamination or other boil water advisories and pressure reductions, it is strongly recommended that the following guidelines be utilized by your facility:
1. FOR HANDWASHING: use heated bottled water or safe water hauled from an approved supply or utilize an alcohol based hand sanitizer until the advisory is lifted. Many times it is recommended, particularly when washing soiled hands with an alternate water source to follow the hand wash procedure with a hand sanitizer rub. If neither bottled water nor an alcohol based hand sanitizers are immediately available, an antiseptic towelette should be used.
2. DRINKING WATER: Use bottled water only; post “DO NOT DRINK” signs or disconnect any drinking fountains.
3. ICE must come from commercially approved facilities outside the affected area. Ice machines that are directly connected to the water systems must not be used. Shut the machine down, and leave the unit off until the water is OK again, then clean and sanitize the unit following manufacturer’s suggested guidelines. Make ice for one (1) hour and dispose of the ice.
4. COFFEE AND TEA should be made from bottled water, or from water that is boiled for three (3) minutes before brewing or steeping. Simply brewing tea or coffee from a contaminated source is not hot enough to make the water safe for drinking!