Many Residents on Oxygen Need Help

Local first responders were called to help many people in Levittown who use oxygen concentrators.

Local EMS, hospitals and emergency management agencies are working to deal with patients whose oxygen concentrators failed due to the power outages.

Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad Chief Chris Reif said when the large electric powered concentrators fail, patients must use small portable oxygen tanks. The problem is that those tanks are often empty with in hours.

On Wednesday - more than a day since much of the area went dark - ambulances, local hospitals and the emergency shelter in Bristol were being flooded with calls for help from concentrator users who needed help.

One in four calls to the Levittown-Fairless Hills Rescue Squad Wednesday afternoon were related to the issue, Reif estimated.

The companies that refill the oxygen tanks were overwhelmed with refill calls and could not keep up, causing a many to be taken to the nearest hospital via ambulance, the chief said.

As the day dragged on at the Red Cross emergency shelter in Bristol Township, several calls from people who needed electricity to power their concentrators came in.

Reif said he was working with Levittown-area hospitals to come up with a plan of action. He said the many patients who need the concentrators were “taxing” hospital resources at a very important time.

The veteran lifesaver gave to options for those in need of oxygen:

1. Get a hold your oxygen supply company to see when the soonest refill can be made.
2. Consult a doctor to see if you need to be hospitalized.

The concentrators are often used to help people with emphysema and similar issues.

Residents who needed emergency transportation are asked to call 911.

sherron weathers November 01, 2012 at 10:21 PM
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