Because of the fact that it is odourless, colourless, unreactive with other elements and lighter than air, helium gas has numerous applications in our daily lives. Apart from the common use in helium balloons, it is also applied in car airbags, medical devices, aircraft, and other high-tech equipment.
While this gas is mainly associated with fun for campers and kids, it could have fatal results if not handled properly. While it will not be chemically poisonous you when you inhale it, it could displace air from your lungs, causing you to suffocate without even knowing. Below are some tips that will keep you safe when dealing with helium gas cylinders.
1. Ensure proper ventilation in the vehicle any time you are using it to transport helium gas. Also, ensure that the cylinder is properly secured.
2. Keep the cylinders from children all the time, as only responsible adults should be trusted to use the cylinders or any other equipment with helium gas.
3. Use a trolley to move the large cylinders even if the distance to be covered is short. This will prevent leakages which could occur when the cylinder falls.
4. Store the cylinders in place that is well ventilated, protected from direct sunlight or other sources of heat.
5. Fasten the large cylinders to a secure support point when in use in an upright position to prevent it from tumbling and rolling onto you. This could result in serious injury.
6. Always point the balloon and inflator away from you during inflation. The cylinder valve should also be properly secured after use.
7. Wear eye protection when using the cylinder.
You should not:
1. Inhale helium gas deliberately. Some people have the habit of inhaling helium gas since it makes them sound funny. You won't be laughing when the gas causes you to suffocate. A bubble of the gas in the bloodstream could also have the effect of severely damaging the victim’s internal organs.
2. Use equipment that is damaged. Before using the helium gas equipment, check to ensure they are in good working conditions to prevent leakages.
3. Open the cylinder valve without first fitting an inflator. The valve should then be opened slowly.
4. Never attempt to repair any equipment to be used with helium gas.
By applying the safety tips offered above, you will able to enjoy helium gas to its fullest effect and avoid injury from misuse.