Wednesday, January 06, 2010

FAA OKs Four More Portable Oxygen Concentrators

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that passengers needing medical oxygen now have the option of using four additional portable oxygen concentrators while traveling, bringing the total number of approved units to 11.

The newly authorized devices are DeVilbiss Healthcare’s iGo, International Biophysics Corporation’s LifeChoice, Inogen’s Inogen One G2 and Oxlife’s Independence Oxygen Concentrator.

“This is our latest step toward making air travel more accessible for people who need medical oxygen,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “We want these passengers to have as many options as possible while ensuring all of our safety guidelines are being met.”

Portable oxygen concentrators are small, portable devices that separate oxygen from nitrogen and other gases in the air and provide oxygen to users at greater than 90 percent concentration. They do not use compressed or liquid oxygen, which the government classifies as hazardous material.

The Department of Transportation requires that U.S. carriers allow passengers to use portable oxygen concentrators approved by the FAA during all phases of a flight – including taxiing, takeoff and landing – if the unit displays a manufacturer’s label that indicates it meets FAA requirements for portable medical electronic devices, is properly stowed, and meets certain other applicable safety-related conditions.

For example, passengers must ensure the unit is in good working order and must be able to respond to the unit’s warning alarms. They must protect extra batteries in carry-on baggage from short circuits and physical damage. Carriers also must let passengers operate these FAA-approved concentrators while moving about the cabin whenever the captain turns off the “Fasten Seat Belt” sign.

Carriers can legally refuse to allow inflight use of an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator that does not have a manufacturer’s label indicating that the device complies with FAA requirements. However, the Department encourages airlines to voluntarily allow the inflight use of such devices. Inflight use of an FAA-approved portable oxygen concentrator, whether labeled or not, poses no safety danger so long as carriage of the device is in accordance with instructions provided by the FAA.

The FAA previously approved these portable oxygen concentrators for use:

* Delphi Medical Systems RS-00400
* Invacare XPO2
* AirSep Lifestyle
* AirSep Freestyle
* Inogen One
* SeQual Eclipse
* Respironics EverGo

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