On June 12, 1998, a member of IAFF Local 3333, Broward County, Fla., received burns to over 30 percent of his body in an oxygen resuscitator fire. Members in Austin, Texas; Houston, Texas; Greeley, Colorado; and Springfield, Oregon have reported similar incidents. Allied Healthcare Products, Inc., which manufactures Life Support Products’ (LSP) oxygen regulators, has issued a recall notice to immediately retrofit all LSP model L270-020 and L270-050 regulators. Fire departments must ensure that all LSP regulators owned by both the department and other agencies with equipment or supply exchange (restocking) agreements (hospitals and other EMS providers) are retrofitted.

The retrofit requires oxygen regulator owners to replace the inlet port’s existing stainless steel mesh filter with a sintered bronze filter. Allied Healthcare Products, Inc. is providing the retrofit kits (bronze filters, new labels, allen wrench and instructions) free of charge. The smaller pore size of the sintered bronze filters improves the resistance of the regulator to contamination by hydrocarbons. To receive the retrofit package, contact Allied Healthcare Products’ customer service at (800) 444-3954.

If fire departments suspect that their oxygen resuscitators have been contaminated, a certified technician must inspect the device, including the regulators. Any regulator not in good condition must be removed from service immediately. The manufacturer recommends that LSP regulators be tested to ensure proper performance at least every two months, and sent to a LSP service center for overhaul and cleaning every two years. If you are using resuscitators made by a different manufacturer, follow their maintenance requirements.

Regardless of the type of resuscitators, follow these safe handling practices for all oxygen hardware:

Wear clean gloves when working with oxygen hardware to keep the oil from your hands off the parts.
Clean parts using tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) in warm tap water, and scrub parts inside and out.
Don’t work on oxygen hardware using ordinary tools, use only specially designated clean tools.
Use plugs, caps, or plastic bags to protect equipment from dust and dirt when not in use.

If your department has experienced problems with the LSP oxygen, report it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Medical Products Reporting Program (MedWatch). The FDA urges users to report problems they feel may be caused by a medical device design. Report medical device problems on FDA Form 3500 (voluntary) or 3500A (mandatory). The FDA asks that users use Form 3500A since it requests more device information about the experienced problem. Form 3500A and the respective instructions can be downloaded here. For additional information regarding medical device reporting, search the FDA’s web page.

Report any difficulties with medical devices to the FDA and to the IAFF Department of Occupational Health and Safety.