I had the opportunity to speak with Charlie Diauto, one of the owners and Vice President of Burkley Oxygen Services. This company has been serving the Orlando, Florida area for over 15 years. Charlie shared some great tips for our readers who are oxygen dependant or who have breathing disorders such as apnea. Here are Charlie's tips, followed by a few of our own.
Equipment problems: If you run out of oxygen or have a problem with your equipment, Disney can’t help you. Charlie mentioned that his company has the ability to provide you with service you on Disney grounds; however you’ll have to wait for them to come and find you there. Charlie recommends that you plan carefully, conserve your oxygen and bring spare parts. Pack a travel kit that may include a backup regulator, an extra wrench, canula, exhalation valve, batteries for a portable oxygen concentrator, a washer for the regulator, extra medication and inhalers. If you forget your spares, Burkley Oxygen Services can provide you with them. They offer a “travel pack” that you can take with you wherever you go.
Just in case you do need service while in the parks, Charlie recommends that you always carry a cell phone. It will make it easier for them to find you, and will give you the freedom to move around the park while you wait for them to come. If you don’t have a cell phone, you’ll need to wait in one place so they can find you.
Here's a tip for those who use electrical breathing equipment in their hotel room. Charlie once got a call from client whose oxygen regulator wouldn’t turn on in her resort room. When Charlie got there, he found that the light switch associated with the outlet was not turned on. He suggests that you remember to turn on the switch associated with the outlet that you’re gear is hooked up to, and if it still doesn’t work, try another outlet before deciding that your unit isn’t working.
Apnea equipment: Most people will travel with their own CPAP unit. If you’re flying, always bring your CPAP and accessories on the plane as a carry-on. Don’t pack it in your suitcase since you run a big risk of losing it. To quote Charlie, “It’s one thing to forget your underwear, and another to forget your CPAP. If you pack it in your suitcase and it gets lost, you’re lost.” Charlie noted that sometimes people forget items such as their mask or tubing. Be sure to pack all your equipment, but if you do forget something, Burkley Oxygen Services can get you what you need. He also mentioned that some people prefer to travel lighter, leaving their oxygen concentrator home and renting one at their destination. Burkley Oxygen Services has rental oxygen concentrators available for those visitors.
In the parks: Charlie says that as long as your oxygen tank is bagged, Disney will allow it on many non-turbulent rides. For example, it should be permitted on Haunted mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean, but roller coaster rides such as Space Mountain won’t permit the equipment. He suggests that you can think about your breathing equipment as you would a camera. If a Disney has posted a warning sign saying that all personal belongings must be secured, most likely you will not be permitted to board with your oxygen tank.
Charlie believes that those on oxygen should use moderation when planning their days. He notes that oxygen levels drops the more you move, take time to rest. Don’t overdo it. Dehydration can also be a problem for those using oxygen, so he suggests that you take extra care. Stay in the shade as much as possible and drink plenty of water.