Emergency Oxygen: The Life-Saving Gas You Need to Know About

Emergency Oxygen: The Life-Saving Gas You Need to Know About

Oxygen is a colorless, odorless gas that is essential for human life. It makes up about 21% of the air we breathe, and without it, our bodies cannot function properly. In an emergency situation, when a patient is in need of oxygen and EMS is several minutes away, the chance of survival can be low. This is where emergency oxygen comes in - it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Despite being one of the most important gases for human survival, oxygen is also one of the most misunderstood. Many people are unaware of the simple principles for safe handling, which can lead to dangerous situations. However, with proper knowledge and precautions, having oxygen cylinders in the home is not only safe, it can save lives in the event of an emergency.

The average human body begins to suffer brain damage after only 4 minutes without oxygen, and death can occur after 8-10 minutes without oxygen. This means that every second counts in an emergency situation. Having the ability to administer emergency oxygen fast and easily could mean the difference between life or death at your office or even in your own home.

According to recent statistics, more than 37 million 911 emergency calls are responded to by ambulance or other emergency services every year. The average wait time for these emergency services to arrive ranges from 7 minutes from the time of a 911 call to more than 14 minutes in a rural setting. This does not include the 1 in 10 encounters resulting in a wait time of over 30 minutes for emergency help to arrive on scene after a call to 911. When the brain can be damaged with only 4 minutes without oxygen, and the ambulance is 7 minutes away, having emergency oxygen on hand can make the difference between life and death.

Emergency oxygen is a compressed gas that is stored in cylinders. These cylinders are made of steel or aluminum and are designed to withstand high pressure. The oxygen inside the cylinder is stored at a pressure of around 2,000 pounds per square inch (psi), which is about 10 times the pressure of the air we breathe.

It is important to always follow the proper safety precautions when using emergency oxygen. Oxygen is a highly flammable gas, which means that it can ignite easily if it comes into contact with a spark or flame. For this reason, it is important to keep oxygen cylinders away from open flames, heat sources, and other flammable materials.

Oxygen toxicity is another safety concern when using emergency oxygen. Oxygen toxicity can occur when a person is exposed to high levels of oxygen for an extended period of time. Symptoms of oxygen toxicity include seizures, dizziness, nausea, and shortness of breath. To avoid oxygen toxicity, it is important to follow the prescribed flow rate and duration of oxygen therapy.

In addition to safety precautions, it is important to properly store and maintain emergency oxygen cylinders. Oxygen cylinders should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. They should also be kept in an upright position and secured to prevent them from falling over. Regular maintenance checks should be performed to ensure that the cylinders are in good condition and that the valves are functioning properly.

There are many ways to administer emergency oxygen.  The most common method is through a face mask or nasal cannula, which delivers oxygen directly to the patient's airway. In some cases, a bag-valve-mask (BVM) may be used, which allows the rescuer to manually ventilate the patient using a bag and mask.

In summary, emergency oxygen is a life-saving gas that everyone should be aware of. Whether you are at home, in the office, or out in public, having access to emergency oxygen could mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation. By following the proper safety precautions and storing and maintaining your oxygen cylinders properly, you can ensure that you are prepared for any emergency.