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Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - Printable Version

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RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - maki2 - 10-18-2019

The following information is from the Enviromental Health and Safety website. As this issue of working in a confined space creates hazards for workers in industry they have prepared informational postings about what is what.

For those who think it is all about the carbon monoxide it is not. But it certainly is one factor that can decrease the amount of available oxygen in a confined space.

"Oxygen Deficiency

Human beings normally breathe air that is 20.9 percent oxygen by volume under normal atmospheric pressure conditions. When the concentration of oxygen decreases even slightly by a little more than 1 percent to 2 percent, people immediately begin to feel the effects. Healthy individuals are unable to work strenuously and their coordination may be affected in oxygen environments of 15 percent to 19 percent. With the depletion of oxygen to a mix of only 10 percent to 12 percent, respiration increases, lips turn blue and judgment is impaired. Fainting and unconsciousness begin to occur at 8 percent to 10 percent oxygen. Death occurs in 8 minutes at 6 percent to 8 percent oxygen; recovery is possible after 4 to 5 minutes if oxygen is restored. These values are approximate and may vary greatly depending on an individual’s health, physical activity and the specific working environment that they encounter.

There are a variety of causes that lead to oxygen deficiency. Leaking materials from storage tanks, natural gas lines, process valves and more release gas that displaces oxygen in poorly ventilated areas or confined spaces. Decomposing organic matter, such as animal, human or plant waste, produces methane, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide that displace or consume oxygen. Even corrosion, such as rust, or fermentation or other forms of oxidation will consume oxygen and pose a hazard."


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - rokguy - 10-18-2019

crofter Wrote:Testing...
With the buddy heater on high in the van, my pulse oximeter reads 98 percent oxygen concentration in my blood. I still have a pulse. This is the same reading as when i started the test. Heater has raised the temperature in here by 6 degrees in sbout 15 minutes, currently 63 degrees in here. So an hour later and i have an oxygen saturation in my blood of 97 percent on the pulse oximeter. It is 68 degrees in here after an hour running the heater on high, outside temp is about 45 degrees. End of test. 
I think you could improve airflow by having another vent at the other end of the van in an area free of exhaust gasses. Agree that co detector should be used-crofter

Somewhere on youtube I remember seeing someone do a test like this in a van.


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - highdesertranger - 10-18-2019

I guess this is somewhat relevant. I already have a quality explosive gas meter. I have wanted an Oxygen meter for years but they use to be outrageously expensive. so out of curiosity I just checked and they have come way down in price. I see one is in the future. even the multi-gas meters have come way down in price. highdesertranger


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - crofter - 10-19-2019

My pulse oximeter cost less than 20 dollars online and does not work with fingernail polish (not a problem for HDR).  There is a difference in testing oxygen and carbon monoxide; carbon monoxide test is a blood draw I believe and I did not have that done.     ~crofter


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - highdesertranger - 10-19-2019

yeah no fingernail polish here. LOL. the O2 meter I am talking about is for atmospheric O2 like in open air or confined spaces like inside a van, or maybe a mine not blood saturation. highdesertranger


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - crofter - 10-19-2019

One of those special mining thingys. We had one for methane at the mine.    ~crofter


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - highdesertranger - 10-19-2019

yes I have the explosive gas one already. it will read any type of hydrocarbon based gas and sound an alarm when you approach the concentration levels that have the potential for an explosion. highdesertranger


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - LivingOurPeace - 10-22-2019

"In regards freezing to death in a car when trapped in a snowstorm, I recall reading that lighting a candle can keep the inside of the car from getting too cold, but crack a window. I wonder if this would work in the back of a van, in lieu of using a real heater. ???"

I know this thread is a couple of days old, but I wanted to make a quick comment on this statement in particular posted (I think) by Qxxx.

A few years back I was involuntarily homeless for just over a year. I lived in my minivan before I knew how to do it comfortably and just made things work from day to day as best I could.

I survived a nasty Ohio winter mostly just starting the engine when my toes told me it was time (often woke me in the middle of the night) and using a ridiculous and uncomfortable number of blankets. The candle thing is absolutely true. In an area as small as a car or minivan, simply lighting one or two tea candles can at minimum keep one from freezing, though not enough to make it "comfortable" as we know it - even though that's subjective. I also used a single burner (the kind that screws directly onto a small green propane tank, making the tank the stand) to warm my van a few times. I only had to let it run 5-10 minutes - keeping in mind that the back of my van was PACKED with everything I owned so there was very little space needing to be warmed. I did what I could to save gas, though, and these worked.

Obviously though, none of these things can be done when you're going to sleep.

I met MANY people that year who were living in tents in the woods around the railroad tracks and they used these same methods. No electricity out there! I only knew one man who died, but poor Dwayne was a heavy drinker. He passed out without ensuring his warmth for the night. He didn't even cover himself with a blanket, poor man.


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - highdesertranger - 10-22-2019

there is not enough BTU's in a candle to make a difference in the temperature. I think this is the placebo effect. highdesertranger


RE: Can you breathe up all the oxygen in your rig? - crofter - 10-22-2019

North Dakota Uni says a single candle produces about 75 BTU's, enough to melt water but not enough to provide heat. They recommend eating and using winter clothing and winter sleeping bags to stay warm.    ~crofter