Oxygen cylinder safety: Virginia Beach fire emphasises importance of oxygen cylinder safety


On 5th February 2005, a firefighter began his daily equipment checks at Virginia Beach Fire Station #16 in the US. He removed an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) equipment bag from its compartment in the ladder truck to inspect its contents.

He checked an Emergency Cardiac Monitor (ECM), a suction unit, a blood pressure cuff, a stethoscope, a bag valve mask, and a glucometer — all positioned on top of a medical oxygen tank.

He removed the cylinder and opened the oxygen valve, utilising a metal Crescent® wrench to operate the valve stem. Once the valve was open, he verified the tank’s pressure–registering 1,500-2,000 psig. He closed the cylinder valve again, utilising the same wrench, and released the pressure using the regulator’s flow control knob.

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