Don't turn cylinders into missiles

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Q. When delivering oxygen, do I need to use a cart or a bag to carry cylinders into the patient's home?

A. Unless you'd like to make a homemade missile, I'd recommend using a cart or bag to carry cylinders. When cylinder valves are dropped or damaged, the cylinder can become just like a rocket and have enough force to break through a cinder block wall. (In fact, you can see a demonstration of this by the TV show "Mythbusters" on YouTube. You can check it out under my favorites section at

Carrying cylinders in a cart or a bag is the best way to deliver oxygen to a patient's home. CGA regulation P-2 (Characteristics and Safe Handling of Medical Gases) requires that delivery drivers handle the cylinder safely by not carrying the cylinder by the toggle/valve, which helps to reduce the risks of dropping cylinders and creating structural damage. Therefore, to carry cylinders safely, a driver should either carry them one at a time or use a cart or a bag.

The best way to carry cylinders safely and securely is with racks or delivery bags. Many respiratory equipment manufacturers sell solutions, such as cylinder boxes, delivery bags that hold multiple cylinders and patient racks.

The added benefit of using an inexpensive patient rack is that it encourages patients to store cylinders safely and economically. Patient racks keep cylinders "nested" together, which keeps them from toppling and deters patients from storing cylinders under beds or other enclosed spaces where cylinders can leak and create oxygen enriched environments.

The added economical bonus is that using cylinder racks and bags for delivery reduces delivery time for drivers because drivers do not have to make multiple trips to and from the delivery van to the patient's home.  hme

Victoria Marquard-Schultz is general counsel and head of the compliance and regulatory department at Applied Home Healthcare Equipment. She can be reached at 440-788-4099 or