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oxygen tanks for preparedness

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by onceblind, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. onceblind

    onceblind nwOR New Member

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    I was at a first aid class a while back and it really struck me how useful having an oxygen tank(s) on hand could be during an emergency (SHTF or not), especially if first responder help is not immediately available. Very minimal oxygen is delivered to the brain during cpr, and it seems like the basic hope of cpr is keeping just enough oxygen to the brain until help (w/oxygen) arrives. Of course oxygen is not the only consideration during a medical emergency, but putting a mask delivering pure oxygen to an unresponsive person while giving compressions seems light years ahead of a couple breaths every minute of already used oxygen. (Owning and being trained with a defibrilator (sp?) could be amazingly helpful if someone had the funds for that as well.)

    Also, in the event of any SHTF scenario, but especially if it's sudden and destructive, I bet episodes of shock will be fairly prevalent, and first responder help probably a long time in coming. It sounds like what is most needed in event of shock, especially serious cases which can lead to death, is oxygen to the brain.

    I am not a medical expert, but it seems like having some oxygen on hand could easily be the difference between life and death in some situations. In fact, I'm really surprised it is not more well-known and considered more of an essential item by society at large, since it is not very expensive and fairly easy to administer, and absolutely critical in some emergencies. I've heard that Intel does include oxygen tanks in their emergency items.

    I don't know anything about how long a given size tank of oxygen will last, and if we're talking widespread disaster I can't imagine it being easy or possible to refill, and I've never been trained it its use. Maybe someone with some experience can give their thoughts on the idea, and some practical insight. I haven't noticed this being much talked about in the prepper community, but especially if someone in your household may be predisposed to heart attack or shock, this might be a critical item. I imagine there being non-medical uses as well. What do you think?
     
  2. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    In general, having administering CPR with a BVM (bag-valve-mask) is massively superior to liplocking with someone, as usually the first thing that happens once you blow into them is they vomit. This is why I won't give MTM to anyone I don't at least like. However, recently I think they changed the CPR standard to remove the MTM requirement and is focused entirely on chest compressions now.

    High flow O2 through a non-rebreather (10L/m) is a common treatment for smoke inhalation, asthma attacks, and is a life-saving practice when it comes to dealing with heart attacks and many other conditions. A nasal cannula is also used for low flow (2-5L/m).

    While O2 is a good thing to have around, what I would actually rather see people have are NP/OP airways. Having O2 or a BVM does you no good if the victims tongue is blocking the airway, it just wastes your time, and irritates the victim.

    When dealing with traumatic injury, it all comes down to ABCs, Airway Bleeding Circulation. If you don't have an airway you may as well forget about the other two because that person is going to die, and no amount of O2 will solve that problem. When the victim is in hypovolemic shock (blood loss), O2 does them some good, but stopping the bleeding and pushing fluids into them (IV) would result in more immediate help. Perfusion problems can be a sign of shock, and O2 is a good treatment for that in a traumatic setting. However any time a person is actually going into some kind of shock after a traumatic injury you need to get them to a doctor asap, because you could be looking at a wide variety of very serious medical conditions, including neurologic, obstructive, or hypovolemic shock.

    On the other hand, when i feel like I got ran over by a truck because I drank too much the night before, there's nothing like 32oz of gatoraide and about 15 mins of low flow O2 to make me feel better.
     
  3. Kevinkris

    Kevinkris Aloha Well-Known Member

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    in my medical assistant class, we were only trained to use O2 during CPR because during other situations you need to be able to check more accurately for symptoms that show the O2 may be causing more problems. if you have been trained for true CPR adding O2 is simply one more step, which is no big deal when it comes to an adult, children are another story entirely (unless you know it is a heart condition).

    in all sure, if you are looking to add it to your home or mobile trauma kit it can be great for CPR, without extensive training dont use it for anything else. there are times when the added O2 can put a person further into shock.

    also in SHTF it could make a nice explosive :thumbup: or one of those just for fun last moments showing off to your friends:shooting:.
     
  4. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    AMP did a decent job explaining lots.

    Well I will start with all the negative side of things. First of O2 is just ONE part of a system and without more of a system intact the odd's of O2 making a huge difference in extreme cases is low. The initial example is CPR. If someones heart has stopped and you are doing CPR, even with O2, they are not just going to "wake up" suddenly like you see in the movies. It can be very helpful a part of the system when dealing with things like heart attack and stroke O2 alone will NOT solve the problem. It can help reduce the effects of these conditions until definitive care can be rendered.

    Now in cases of shock, inhalation of "bad stuff", shortness of breath O2 can be very helpful.

    There is NEVER a time in the "field" that O2 should be withheld, NEVER.

    Somethings about 02. It is heavy and bulky for the amount of 02 you get. If run on "high" (depends on PT condition and type of delivery) the portable bottles most EMS/fire dept use only last about 15 min. Next problem you will run into is most places will not sell medical O2 without a prescription.

    For cost vs weight vs what it can do for a PT in a "survival" situation in my option there are much better things to keep in your kit.
     
  5. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    When you step into the world of airway management, you jump to a whole new level. You now have an airway situation that has to be managed, and that is going to take at least one person full time. There are a ton of other things you need to worry about in emergency field medicine.

    Accurately pointed out, the small bottles have about a 15 min useful period. If you need more than that you are going to have issues. Low oxygen sats are the least of your worries in a trauma situation.
     
  6. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Speaking as a Paramedic:

    In SHTF, someone having a cardiac arrest is going to die. CPR alone won't bring them back, having a defibrillator might put them back into a perfusing rhythm but won't fix the underlying problem that caused the cardiac arrest in the first place (MI, electrolyte imbalances, etc). Not to mention the aftercare required to have any hope at a normal life, things like cooling and airway management required for those with little or no level of consciousness.

    Same with acute medical problems or major trauma.

    If you're unfortunate enough to have serious medical problems that require regular medication and doctor visits to manage (Emphysema/COPD, type I Diabetes, CHF, anticoagulant therapy) you won't last long once you can't make it to the doctor's office, the pharmacy and the hospital.

    SHTF brings us all back to the late 1800's in terms of medical care. The only thing you can do at that point is try to keep yourself healthy and free from injury.
     
    CoastRange57, jimwsea, Nwcid and 7 others like this.
  7. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Get me some mercury and some laudanum and a few lancets for blood letting. perhaps a little foxglove in case of dropsy and Im good to go :) Oh, and make some Portable soup like Lewis and Clark had.


    Check this out. I got one of these for my iphone recently. single lead ECG. Not really that helpful for SHTF but great if I find someone down or someone having chest pain on a plane

    AliveCor - Heart Monitor
     
  8. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Exactly the way it is and will be. I was an EMT back in the early days of emergency field medicine back in the late 70's ( whats up Squad 51?). We did some pretty crazy things back in those days to try and save peoples lives. We did save some, but we lost a fair amount as well. Things have come a long ways, but the principles remain and will remain the same. IN SHTF scenario, the rules of survivability change a lot. A lot of things that would not normally be fatal, will become fatal in routine.

    Modern medicine has made people dependent upon advanced medical care, copious huge amounts of nasty drugs. in SHTF, taking care of yourself in a natural way will become important. As a survivor of a life threating illness a couple of years ago, I consider myself lucky to be able to live with out prescribed drugs, and without extensive ongoing medical intervention. If SHTF happens though, I make no illusions that I won't be the first to go, but I certainly will not be one of the last standing either. I intend to be a contributing member right up to the end, and when my usefulness to the group is gone, and I present more of a care problem than a contributing asset, then somebody is going to be on the end of a pretty bad firefight with me. I may buy it, but the price will be paid for that sacrifice. Better a good memory and hopefully a teacher than a drag on the survivability of a group with better chances.
     
    Nwcid and (deleted member) like this.
  9. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    Under these circumstances, I would encourage you to use them only on family. Most airplanes have AEDs (automatic electric defibrilator). If someone you don't know keels over from a heart attack your best course of action: sit in your seat and do nothing. Unless you like lawsuits. Chances are someone having an MI on an airplane is probably not going to survive unless that plane lands pronto. After that the lawyers may start sorting out "who is responsible".

    In my experience the "it never hurts to help" is actually very untrue, once you help, you have to keep helping even if the person is unwilling to help themselves. One time I patched someone up who had a stab wound to the face, I stopped the bleeding, bandaged it up and said "hey, you need to go to a hospital" told the police officer standing there he needed to go to a hospital. Instead he declined treatment, and him and his friends kept hitting me up for med supplies I had already used stopping the bleeding and cleaning myself up. Once they knew I had something, they acted like I was a walking hospital with warm blankets a sink and washcloths. It nearly got to the point that I thought I was going to have to use violence to defend myself. What I learned from that experience is "it never hurts to do nothing".
     
  10. bolus

    bolus Portland Gold Supporter Gold Supporter 2015 Volunteer 2016 Volunteer

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    Being a physician, I still have a slight increased desire to help people over the knowledge that I will get sued into oblivion. Though there are days I dont think it is worth it.

    I carry at least an aspirin for the flight MI's, but I know good an well I cant do anything else until they get to a cath lab
     
  11. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    At a recent family gathering my step-brother's wife (who is a brand-new floor Nurse) said that she now carries gloves and a CPR mask in her car in case she comes upon a wreck while driving. The she said, "You guys are Paramedics (my wife and I), what do you do when you come upon a wreck in your personal car?".

    Our reply?

    "Keep driving!"
     
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  12. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Understandable if you are in the business full time and see it all on a daily basis. In reality, there is not a lot you can do in a trauma situation or high mech vehicle accident anyway. Maybe some C spine, risky in itself, or arterial bleeding control, but not much intervention until EMS arrives. You have to look at each situation individually. I will probably pop some flares, try and get some scene security from additional hazard, make sure we don't have leaking flammables, and wait for the first responders to arrive.

    Today auto wrecks are nothing like they were 30 years ago when I was in it. Vehicle take a hit much better, but if they do make it to a high mech level, they are usually fairly traumatic and damaging in nature. Police are prety much hands off in most situations now days too.

    Away from established and reasonably timed EMS arrival, you have to make the calls as to what you would do. Safety and prevention go a long ways.
     
  13. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    I am glad to hear that there are still doctors out there like this. I really hope you don't have to deal with some litigious jerk who changes this. The world really needs people who have the ability and the will to make it a better place. I haven't had good luck with it.
     
  14. onceblind

    onceblind nwOR New Member

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    Thanks for the replies, they are helpful. So basically, if other medical help and equipment are not available, oxygen probably isn't gonna do a whole lot of good. Maybe for something where oxygen is the specific treatment, like smoke inhalation, or for some shock conditions. If someone is already doing well on their preps, though, still something that could be useful, I would think; that and obviously as much training as possible in emergency medical care. Thanks!
     
  15. Modeler

    Modeler Molalla, Oregon Soccer Fan

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    Smoke inhalation generally means CO and cyanide poisoning as well. Oxygen is of little help without hyperbaric therapy and a cyano-kit.

    Sorry. Best save your oxygen to mix with acetylene and build stuff ;-)
     
  16. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    The biggest limitation to oxygen therapy is how much oxygen you can carry... Unless you're dealing with the elderly, I'm not sure O2 would help as much as being competent to set and maintain an IV line, and use both basic, and advanced airways. Basic airways are easy to use, advanced airway are a BFD that pretty much you need to go to school to learn how/when to use. Of these, the combi-tube is what's called a "blind insertion device". You should not be using something like this unless it's apparently obvious that without airway intervention that person will die. Even then, if there are other injured people, you should help this person last.

    As far as O2 goes... I found an O2 concentrator at an estate sale for $50. The only time i figure I will use it is for lab use (yes, i have a chemistry lab), or for a long term care situation. The one I got is a portable unit which can run off 12V.
     
  17. Oathkeeper1775

    Oathkeeper1775 Coast Range Well-Known Member

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    This was a good thread/topic. My old pocket mask/valve I was issued in the service is buried in a box someplace, probably dry-rotten.

    Taking all the info and my situation/budget into consideration, I found a disposable Bag Valve Mask (BVM) at Gall's for under 30 bucks; its on the way.

    Much thanks!
     
  18. James 61

    James 61 Clark Co Washington Member

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    The other thing that has to be considered here is the Goood Samaritan Law. It protects a person who is giving aid up to the level that they are trained to. The OP stated he took a first aid/CPR class but this doesn't cover O2 administration so if he did use O2 on somebody and there was harm caused, whether or not the O2 caused it, he could be sued. I would strongly advise that no one administer O2 or any other advanced life saving techniques without the proper training and certification.

    Somebody also pointed out that O2 requires a prescription to buy. That is because O2 is considered to be a medication. When I was an EMT our protocols allowed us to administer O2 without contacting medical control but it was the only med we could do that with. All other meds required contacting medical control and getting approval from the MD.
     
  19. AMProducts

    AMProducts Maple Valley, WA Jerk, Ammo Manufacturer Silver Supporter

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    There are a few medicines that all EMT-B's can dispense... O2, Oral Glucose are the two that immediately come to mind. The reason, there is a very low probability of harm, yet the amount of good that can be created by that kind of medical intervention is huge. O2 administration is within the scope of BLS, as are OP/NP airways.
     
  20. Nwcid

    Nwcid Yakima and N of Spokane Well-Known Member

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    Most EMT-B's in WA (depends on local protocol) can give Oral glucose, O2, Aspirin, Epi for allergic reactions, and assist a patient take their own nitro if they have a systolic blood pressure over 100.