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Hyderabad: Officials Warn Over Handling Of Oxygen Cylinders

With the exponential rise in the use of oxygen cylinders in homes and apartments and wherever Covid-19 patients need them, the Fire and Rescue Services Department has asked people to ensure precautions to avoid fire mishaps. Fire officials warn that any lethargy in dealing with oxygen cylinders can lead to disaster.

“A small percentage of increase of oxygen (oxygen enrichment) in the air can be dangerous and result in fires,” said V Papaiah, Regional Fire Officer, Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services. In the recent past, there were quite a few incidents involving oxygen cylinders resulting in a fire in ambulances and Intensive Care Units in hospitals in some parts of the country.

“Oxygen is colourless, odourless and tasteless; hence leakage cannot be easily detected. Once oxygen enriches the room, the risk of clothes worn by patients receiving oxygen treatment or their bedding catching fire goes up,” the official said.

Homes have a greater risk of fire compared to hospitals as there is a lot of combustible material like woods, clothes, beddings, furniture and other articles. “Combustible material catches fire spontaneously and burns vigorously with the help of oxygen. It acts as fuel. In such scenarios, taking all necessary precautions is very important,” said K Sreenivas Reddy, District Fire Officer (South), Hyderabad.

Officials have said patients if under treatment at home, should also be accommodated in properly ventilated spaces while oxygen cylinders should be placed in purpose-designed holders or trolleys. “Special care should be taken to keep the cylinders away from direct contact with combustible material,” he said.


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