It appears the tanks had been left in the back window of the car for some time. So it would be hard to determine how hot they actually had gotten, their estimates are over 130 degrees, but it could have been massively over that!
----------------------------------------- Oxygen Tanks Explode In Back Of Woman's Car
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee summers are known for their oppressive, often dangerously high temperatures, but near record heat last week caused two oxygen tanks to explode in the back of a local woman’s car.
Debora Coggins, age 64, suffers from COPD and black lung disease. She spends most of her days inside her Pleasantville home tethered to oxygen tanks. Without them she can’t breath.
“If I run out of oxygen, I’ll have a stroke. The tanks are my lifeline,” she explained, pointing to a small tube that allows her to move the length of her mobile home.
Last week, when temperatures were in the high 90’s, Debora got a call from her daughter who was frantically trying to explain that the back windshield of her Ford Focus had mysteriously shattered. The culprit it turned out: two of Debora’s backup oxygen tanks.
The tanks had been sitting in the back windshield area of the car where direct sunlight was likely magnifying the light and causing the temperature inside the car to push well above 130 degrees. One of the tanks shots through the windshield and flew into a neighbor’s yard more than 100 yards away.
“My daughter calls me and she goes, ‘You owe me a back windshield!’ and I said, ‘What?’ and she said, ‘My window exploded, your tanks blew up!’” Debora recalled.
Fortunately no one was injured in the bizarre freak accident.
“I was shocked. Thank God no one was in the car. I would’ve had a heart attack,” she added.
As for the lesson in all of this, Debora said it’s simple: “Don’t leave your oxygen tanks in the car for no reason, and if you do in this heat, leave your windows rolled down.”
WOW! i keep an 02 tank in my car winter & summer. I asked my 02 delivery person about it years ago & he said that they leave the tanks in their van 24/7, only taking the returned used ones out & restocking for the next day. He explained that like propane or any type of gas tank they have pressure relief valves on them, so if a tank got to hot it would just blow the releif valve & let all the 02 out (I have gone to use a tank from the car & found it empty, but I've done that in the house too).
In my personal (& humble as gnott would say) opinion I think the stupid thing was she had them in her back window. Now only was that sun beating down on it with a magnifying type effect,but the tank would bounce & vibrate against the window when driving. Not to mention the danger of tanks being up where if the brakes were slammed on or in an accident they could fly around in the car creating who knows what kind of damage!
when i carry mine in the car i carry it on the floor & have it secured down. when i've carried tanks in my trunk I always put something (a towel or my endless supply of bubble wrap) around the tanks to keep them from rattling together & against other things & then i secure them down so they also cant fly around in the even to an accident ( i love bungie cords).
I don't know if i'm 'doing it perfectly', but I do have to carry tanks with me when i go places (as i think we all need to do) so i just try to transport them safely.
Good info, Jarca. I need to give this some thought. Sometimes I'm not sure the one tank I have with me will last. So far, it's been too close a few times.
I think it's important to carry an extra tank with me anytime I leave my home! no telling what can hold me up, shop that 'extra bit', remember to go to another store, get a flat tire etc etc (i even take extras out on my ATV, because that can be a long ride back if i run out of 02 out in the field) I do switch the tanks i keep in car now & then so it will hopefully be 'fresh & full' My daughter also keeps a small tank at her house in case I need one; we swap for new one every now & then so make sure it is good. If a person doesn't feel safe leaving it in car, they should always carry the extra in & out any time they go anywhere! (i often carry 2 extras if i know i'm going to be doing a lot & also I have opened new tanks to have nothing in them! (& those were in house & not getting hot in car)
for those who don't need 02 constantly, it wouldn't matter, but anyone who needs to wear it all the time should carry an extra with them (in my humble opinion)
Oxygen tanks are safe! However, as we have seen anything might happen – thus Safety is Never 100% - only 99.9999%. Smile.
[Idle thoughts (boring) while sitting here doing my meds… can be safely ignored, but may help the truly paranoid.]
A medical post valve and tanks have a “Burst Rating” the range of 12,000 psig*. That pressure is unlikely outside the bottom of the sea, outer space, or volcanoes …, in which case if you or your vehicle is in one of those locations – SpO2 is the least of your worries. So in the case of the tank in the rear window, the valve or tank most likely didn’t fail, more likely the Relief Device or Rupture Discs. Another possibility is a conserver or regulator was left attached and open and it failed. Relief devices release at 3025 to 3360 psig and at around 165 degrees F. The numbers seem vague because there are several additional factors involve the most important of which is time. (You don’t want a tank to blow off Oxygen just because it was licked with a few flames, but you do if it is sitting in a fire and before the tank itself bursts.)
Another obscure safety feature, which only a geek would enjoy, is the torque pressure of the valve. It is rated to something less than 3,000 psig. What that means is you can only turn the valve off or on if the pressure is below that pressure. You cannot fill a tank to dangerous levels and you cannot open a dangerous tank. Cool huh?
Also the valve body and valve stem are chrome-plated brass. Why? No sparks. The Relief Discs are Nickel Alloy. Why? Because these alloys have industry standard specifications, so by using a specific registered blend the pressure/temperature point is guaranteed. So you don’t have to worry about that One Bad Tank.
The tanks come with a simple “wrench” or “toggle” (an attached lever), or “wheel” (think water faucet). If you’re arthritic or other accessibility issue you can ask for special wheel or wrench that increase mechanical advantage. You can just as easily use something from your own tool box, but they get excited if you say or do that in front of them. Smile. These tools are also usually hard plastic, not because they are cheap – again NO Sparks. (Any metal wrenches you come across (EMI/FIRE etc) are also chrome-brass and expensive.)
Nominal or “wide-open stroke” is 1.5 turns, but full-flow is actually achieved around 1/3 to 1/2 of a turn. So one doesn’t have to spend much time opening or closing, a quick little twist and you’re good to go. While you may get a tank that was tighten by a 600lb gorilla (machine or robot) you don’t have to turn much more than hand tight. Anything more has you fighting the Polyamide washers, which are designed for protecting the valve (from 500lb gorillas) as much as for sealing. Even if the valve is super tight on a new tank, notice it takes very little torque after that initial “crack”. Also it is next to impossible to “vibrate” a medical post valve open, but it does take but the mildest blow on a lever to open it.
The internal O-rings are Teflon or Polyamide exotics. Never “rubber”, so they don’t wear out, freeze or melt. Well, at least for the life of the tank - the whole shebang is recycled after ~5,000 refills.
It always amazes me at just how much engineering and thought goes into the simplest of products now days. The prohibitions against storage are based mostly on three factors: One, the possibility of a leak leading to a build-up of Oxygen in a small space; Second, the possibility of exposure to high heat; and Third, rolling around may cause a toggle to be bumped open (remember it doesn’t take much). So safety is simple – avoid those situations. Grin.
Post by lavishgail on Jul 27, 2018 13:25:47 GMT -5
Oh my GOODNESS! I HAVE A TANK IN EVERYONES CAR. As I speak, I have a couple in my car, oh boy, I have wondered myself about this too. Its been up to 100F here, and Im on my way outside now to bring them in. Thank you so much you guys, If that happened to me while driving around, I too would have a "real heart attack" ttyl as I need to go get the bottles out of my truck.
Well, don't fret too much, odds are nothing will happen.
But, the safety experts can sure pump out the do's and don'ts. Several years ago when I was first diagnosed and knew everything I did a bit of research. Combining the lists from a dozen sites and culling the duplicates I came up with a list of around 70 cautions! All vouched by qualified "Safety Engineers" and "Government Specifications".
Which I always find funny because when I was working the Oil Fields, from Edmonton to the Gulf you could always tell the Safety Engineers and Government Inspectors, because they were the ones with their hardhats and sour gas kits in the back window. Grin.