• With all the recent publicity about rolling blackouts and stage 3 alerts in California papers many of our patients on oxygen concentrators have expressed concern, and even fear, about the effect this might have on them. There have been stories, exaggerated by the newspapers, suggesting that patients on concentrators are in serious danger. Some articles even suggested heading for the nearest fire station or hospital in the event of a black out. Not necessary, folks! Even if you don't have a back-up tank of oxygen this is the time to stay calm and remember your pursed lips breathing! Any of you, unless you are on a ventilator and totally unable to breathe, can get by for much longer than an hour without oxygen. Please remember that these blackouts are scheduled only during the day and only for one hour at a time. Everyone is angry about the potential inconvenience of rolling blackouts as well as the increased cost of electricity. But please be assured that for most oxygen users this should not present the potential physical danger of extended blackouts, such as those caused by earthquakes and other disasters.
  • Ventilator patients are a different matter, but by law these patients always have stand by emergency equipment for the event of a power failure. These patients should also notify local police and fire departments that they are on a ventilator. But again, this is not considered necessary for those on oxygen concentrators
  • Do all of you who use concentrators know that by contacting your local electrical company you will get a financial reduction in your electricity costs? This is true for all electrically driven medical equipment including nebulizers and electrical beds. If you live in a hot climate and your doctor feels you need air conditioning even that may be eligible for a refund, our California Edison company tells us. If you have not done so already, call today and request information about the Medical Baseline form. This may have a different name in different parts of the country, but all electrical companies should have a similar program.
  • Please read the following article by Craig Murga, Center Manager of Lincare, Torrance, CA who addresses this problem in greater detail.
  • With the ongoing problem of rolling blackouts in California, we have seen increased concern about the possibility of losing power for a short period of time. This has raised such concern that some patients have gone to the extreme measure of purchasing gas-powered generators to alleviate their anxiety. In many parts of the country it is an annual event to experience long-term power interruptions because of blizzards, electrical storms, or flooding. The possibility of rolling blackouts should be no more than minor inconvenience, but this gives us the opportunity to discuss emergency preparedness for more serious events. All of us should take a few moments out of our busy schedules to prepare for a natural disaster.