• The first thing I would like to discuss is using gas-powered generators to run concentrator systems. Most generators are wonderful when it comes to running a light bulb. But, because of the low output on most generators, typically they are insufficient to run a concentrator. Also, generators tend to constantly cycle, causing concentrators to blow fuses. So, if you're going to use a generator to run a concentrator, make sure it works, and find out where the reset button is located on the concentrator.
  • Then there's the problem of storing gasoline for the generator. How much gas do you store? Can you store it in a safe location away from any heat source? How often do you rotate your supply? Gasoline does go bad!
  • You should also consider an alternative location if you need to relocate during a disaster. Notify your oxygen supplier in advance of this other location so that they can find you if the occasion arises. All oxygen suppliers should have a disaster plan policy in place to prepare for the inevitable. If you are unaware of your company's policy ask them to send you a written copy. If you have a concentrator you can help yourself by always maintaining a sufficient stock of cylinder gas to see you through an extended power failure. If you use 2 LPM (liters per minute), three cylinders will give you about 18 hours of oxygen. By reducing the oxygen flow to 1 LPM you will get approximately 25 hours of oxygen usage. Remember, most oxygen users can go without oxygen for extended periods of time without suffering major debilitating effects.
  • Take a few moments to prepare a disaster kit to be kept in a safe area.
  • 1. Include a particle mask if you are prone to bronchospasms from dust.
  • 2. Have an extra inhaler and medications in the kit. When you store medications be aware of the expiration dates on your meds since you will need to rotate them on a regular basis.
  • 3. You should also have a portable radio with long life batteries stored separately to help you find relocation centers if necessary. A radio also helps you connect with the rest of your community, which reduces the level of stress, one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
  • 4. Don't forget a few bottles of water and some easy to eat food.
  • When the Whittier Narrows earthquake hit I was a new, unprepared manager responsible for 1500 patients on oxygen or life support systems. And let me tell you, I was not the calm one of my staff. But it did prepare me professionally for the future. It was the Loma Prieta earthquake that made an impression on me to become personally prepared by getting my disaster kit in place. So, when the Northridge earthquake hit, 3 miles away from my home, we were the only ones in our complex prepared at 4:30 am that morning. That morning we went downstairs and opened up the kit. We got out the battery lanterns, turned on the portable radio, fired up a pot of coffee on the propane stove, and made several new friends as others started to gather, drinking coffee and hot chocolate at my home. If you haven't yet prepared do it now! You can find more information on disaster preparedness by checking the front pages of your phone book, contacting your city hall, or checking with your local chapter of the American Red Cross. You can also find some excellent information on the web at; www.fema.gov/pte/prep.htm
  • Thanks, Craig! That was great information and a great reminder for all of us. If you would like to contact Craig he can be reached by writing Craig Murga, Center Manger, Lincare Inc. 2230 Amapola Ct., Torrance, CA 90503. His phone number is 1-800-251-7322.