Planning for a power outage when you’re on home oxygen

HealthBeat

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Power outages are an inconvenience for most people, but they can be life-threatening for some.

A local home health business has advice on what to do when the power goes out and you’re on oxygen at home.

Whether it’s a rolling power outage, or an unexpected outage caused by a storm, it’s important to be prepared. That’s especially true for someone on home oxygen.

“We really look at the, the region and our geographical area. And what, what types of things happen here? You know, blizzards floods, tornadoes are probably the top of the three,” Nelson said.

Lora Nelson with Sanford Home Health says all patients are given a specific plan to stay safe in case of an outage.

“We know that our patients, some of our patients rely on that oxygen very heavily. And so again, having that plan ahead of time, and making sure that we have adequate supplies there so the patient doesn’t run out is absolutely essential,” Lora Nelson said.

If left without oxygen, Teresa Meyer says in 20 to 30 minutes a patient’s oxygen levels in the blood start dropping.

“Most people using oxygen in their home use an oxygen concentrator because it runs off of electricity and it concentrates the oxygen that we breathe in room air into a higher concentration to therapeutic levels. Should the electricity goes out, go out, this piece of equipment stops working,” Teresa Meyer said.

Meyer helps people set up their equipment in the home, and it should always include a portable E cylinder.

“When the power goes out, you probably, the concentrator will probably run and dispense enough oxygen for about a minute. And then one needs to get on their portable system,” Meyer said.

In the event that you would lose power you would detach the tubing from your concentrator and attach it to your backup.

In an emergency, patients should also contact their oxygen company immediately in case they need more.

But having a plan in place beforehand is essential.

Portable oxygen tanks should be stored in a place that’s easy to access, but must be an open area for safety reasons.

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