(Newsdesk) Supplementary oxygen stories at ExplorersWeb are legendary. So is Ted Atkins of Topout oxygen since the unreal story last year How Anselm found Cleo in the snow, face down.
Most of all though, Ted is known for his personal oxygen mask, highly popular these days since its humble beginnings in 2004 when it hit Himalaya made out of an aviator's mask, pieces of medical oxygen systems, a couple of condoms and a plastic coke bottle.
An Aero Systems Engineering Officer working with the RAF Mountain Rescue Service Ted decided to build the mask after he ran out of oxygen on Everest and was saved by a Sherpa.
Last week (March 28) Ted had an incident. When it comes to accidents commercial outfits and related services in Himalaya are infamous for their lack of transparency but Atkins immediately went out with an alert. Here goes, straight from the horse's mouth.
Ted Atkins: "I was injured testing a Poisk regulator"
"News travels fast of an accident and I would like to explain the facts as we know them today. I was injured testing a Poisk regulator in conjunction with a new Summit cylinder yesterday. I chose to use the new cylinder because it was a new introduction to climbers and it is delivered as being higher pressure than the Poisk cylinders.
The regulator that failed was not an old style nor was it the newest style. As I fastened it onto the cylinder there was an explosion. I had pieces from the gauge embedded in my neck (I am grateful to Kaju from Asian Trekking for taking this out with a pair of pliers).
3 specific precautions
Neil Greenwood of Summit Oxygen has been on the phone to me and we are trying to determine exactly what went wrong. Meantime I have sold a number of these cylinders and feel obliged to inform all of a potential problem.
I recommend 3 specific precautions at this stage:
- Wear ski goggles when changing the regs
- Wear gloves
- Put the cylinder onto the regulator keeping the regulator in the same plane with the gauge pointing at the ground.
It could be that this was simply a ‘one off’ defective regulator, but I have fitted so many in my time and this is a first for me and the first I have heard of. I was VERY lucky to get away with the level of injury I received so until this situation is resolved PLEASE observe the precautions I have listed.
These precautions would actually be good practice in all cases involving regulator changes and I urge you to disseminate this information.
Ted Atkins, Topout Oxygeneering Ltd www.topout.co.uk Call in Kathmandu 00977 9803149195 Twitter @topoutoxygen
Use no oil or grease - return equipment after each season for service. See web site for user guide.
#Mountaineering #Medical #topstory
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