Medical Oxygen Tank Over Pressurization On Wheels

Here’s your scenario:  You get a call for a truck with a high-pitch sound coming from it.  On arrival the truck is a Class B straight truck with hazardous materials placards easily identifiable on your approach.  It’s 80 degrees outside.  You also notice the labeling on the side indicates the vehicle is a medical oxygen service truck.  You also notice a white pressurized gas coming from a vent on the roof of the cargo box.  Some children playing in nearby yards.  Neighbors inform you that the trucks usual driver lives across the street.

What do you do?

Here’s a few thoughts, add to the conversation below.

  • If we hear the high-pitched sound and see the white gas being released the pressure relief valve on the inside tank looks to be working.
  • Pay attention to the sound. Is it increasing or decreasing.  What have the neighbors noticed about the sound.
  • Clear the children from the area.
  • Contact the neighbor that drives the truck.  He or she should know the procedures for this situation.

If the driver cannot be found here is one example of what you may find inside the cargo box.  On the passenger side of some of these medical oxygen trucks their will be a side door into the cargo box, usually secured with a padlock.  Make quick work of the padlock and find the valve to release additional pressure from the liquid oxygen tank.  This is a quick fix to the overheating and over pressurization that the tank has experienced.


The valve furthest to the right is used to dump pressure through the roof vent pipe.

Pass in on!

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