Hawaii Water Crisis and EFMP Families-What You Should Know

Exceptional Families of the Military Has Partnered With Armed Forces Housing Advocates On Behalf Of Military Families Enrolled In EFMP

I’m writing to you, my fellow EFMP families, today about the water crisis occurring in Hawaii. As the mother of a child with very complex medical needs. I know our lives are busy, and there is barely a moment to stop and think of all the ways this crisis has affected your family. In an effort to support you where you are now I want to provide you with a few things to consider in your lives as EFMP Families.
In a prior blog post AFHA shared: “In consultation with Dr. Andrew Whelton Ph.D of Purdue University, we have determined that there are some household items that should be permanently discontinued from use. Contaminated water that came into contact with plastic items may have allowed the chemicals to adhere to or penetrate into plastics. This includes household items as well as plastic plumbing components. Even after the contaminated water is flushed from the water system and plumbing, some contaminated plastics, if present, can leech chemicals into “clean water or food” and make it unsafe. At this time, little is known about the exact chemicals and their concentrations that entered buildings. Out of an abundance of caution, if you live in the affected neighborhoods and until more information is known, please be mindful regarding the safe use of some household items.

What does this mean for EFMP families? Out of an abundance of caution we would urge you to set asides any plastic medical supplies which have come in contact with contaminated water, including but not limited to:

  • Syringes
  • Medication mixed with the tap water
  • G-tube supplies
  • Oxygen tubing, masks and humidifiers
  • CPAP/BiPaP/Ventilator Masks, tubing and humidifiers
  • Feeding Pump bags/ Gravity Feed bags
  • Catheters
  • Suction machine tubing and canisters
  • Containers you mix and store formula in
  • *You should consult with your specialist about your g-tubes and trachs as they are also made of plastic.

When we look at the other areas of our lives:

  • Have you washed down your wheelchair, stander or stroller tray with a wet sponge from your kitchen sink?
  • Have you washed other toys that are put in your mouth with tap water or in your dishwasher?
  • Do you have adaptive silverware or plates and bowls that are made of plastic?
  • Does your loved one wear bibs?

If you answered yes to these questions we urge you to take the same precautions as you will for your medical supplies.
Regarding oxygen use and petroleum: As you were likely told at delivery oxygen should not be used in conjunction with petroleum products as it is a fire hazard. We do not fully understand the dangers associated with using the contaminated water with your oxygen supplies but would caution you that as shared previously by AFHA that petroleum can leach into clothes and if your washing machine has been exposed to the contaminated water every load of laundy is also contaminated. When dressing your child we urge you to consider this.
Exceptional Families of the Military invites all EFMP families in Hawaii to join our online support group at: www.facebook.com/groups/OahuEFM/
We encourage you to share resources with your fellow EFMP families there and start exchanging surplus medical supplies while you wait for decisions to be made on your contaminated medical supplies.

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