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Good Tips/U.S. Consulate General for Hong Kong

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    Posted: November 08 2006 at 12:57pm

U.S. Consulate General for Hong Kong and Macau

November 3, 2006

The U.S. Department of State recently sent a cable to all diplomatic and consular posts entitled "Pandemic Influenza: Preparing for Possible Shelter-In-Place". The cable's main intent was to provide guidance to all staff regarding "shelter-in-place". That is, in the event of severe pandemic influenza with high morbidity, the public may be advised to self-quarantine. Therefore, current guidance notes that families should be prepared to "shelter-in-place" for up to twelve weeks, and maintain sufficient food and water supplies to accommodate that entire period.

Just as in the United States, U.S. government employees and their families overseas have primary responsibility for maintaining adequate supplies of food to shelter-in-place. This also applies to private U.S. citizens. For the long term, families are advised to store foods that are non-perishable, do not require refrigeration, or preparation (including the use of water), or cooking. The cable also advises that families should store one gallon of water per person per day.

Potable Water

Please note that at this time, Hong Kong's water supply is potable. In the event of complete infrastructure breakdown, water supply that is currently potable in some areas or countries may not remain so. However, water can be purified in several ways. Boiling is a reliable method for killing microbes and parasites. Bring water to a rolling boil and continue boiling for at least ten minutes. Also, regular Clorox Bleach isn't just a laundry-aid, it's a lifesaver (use only regular Clorox bleach, not Fresh Scent or Lemon Fresh). In an emergency, one gallon of Regular Clorox Bleach purifies 3,800 gallons of drinking water. First, let water stand until particles settle. Filter the particles if necessary with layers of cloth, coffee filters, or fine paper towels. Pour the clear water into an uncontaminated container and add Regular Clorox Bleach per the below indicated ratio, mix well, and wait 30 minutes. Water should have a slight bleach odor.

Ratio of Clorox Bleach to Water for Purification:

2 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per quart of water
8 drops of Regular Clorox Bleach per gallon of water
1/2 teaspoon Regular Clorox Bleach per five gallons of water If water is cloudy, double the recommended dosages of Clorox Bleach.

To insure that Clorox Bleach is at its full strength, rotate or replace your storage bottle every three months. Also, don't forget to sanitize the water storage containers. To sanitize containers and utensils, mix one tablespoon of Regular Clorox Bleach with one gallon of water, creating a Sanitizing Solution. Always wash and rinse the items first, then let each item soak in Clorox Bleach Sanitizing Solution for two minutes. Drain and air dry.

Please remember that water in dehumidifiers is also potable, but be sure to sanitize the dehumidifier water container.

Emergency Supply List

The U.S. Government's "one-stop" web site on avian influenza, www.PandemicFlu.gov, provides a sample list of foodstuffs and other emergency supplies for stocking:

Examples of food and non-perishables:

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, beans and soups Protein or fruit bars Dry cereal or granola Peanut butter or nuts Dried fruit Crackers Canned juices Bottled water Canned or jarred baby food and formula Pet food

Examples of medical, health and emergency supplies:

Prescribed medical supplies such as glucose and blood-pressure monitoring equipment Soap and/or alcohol-based (60% - 95%) hand wash Medicines for fever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen Thermometer Anti-diarrhea medication Vitamins Fluids with electrolytes Cleansing agents Flashlight Batteries Portable radio Manual can opener Garbage bags Tissues, toilet paper

To better help plan for "shelter-in-place", all U.S. citizens are encouraged to refer to the www.PandemicFlu.gov website, as well as the World Health Organization website (www.who.int/en/). Please also visit the U.S. Consulate General website for further information: Avian Flu.

We will continue to distribute and share pertinent information on Influenza Pandemic Preparedness as we receive it.

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