Information and photographs submitted by subscribers are posted in good faith. If any copyright of anyone else's material is unintentionally breached, please email me

Walter Clifford - Colliery Rescue Work - Page 6

The History And Development Of The Mines Rescue Service In Britain - Researched by John Lumsdon

Walter Clifford 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Colliery Rescue Work
Breathing apparatus and its Employment

Practical Paper by Mr. W. Clifford

Walter Clifford
Walter Clifford

The Use of the Bird or Mouse

CanaryTo return to the bird or mouse as a testing agent. The heart of such a small creature beats at the rate of 1.200 to 1.500 times per minute, so that it's blood is pumped round its system at least 12 times the speed as in the human system. If it is exposed to the same amount of gas as a human being, the effects would show in say one tenth of the time necessary to put a man out of action. This calculation by the way is only of use when minute quantities of gas present, as if more than one per cent were present, both man and bird would collapse practically instantaneously.

A bird is preferable to a mouse as the effects on the former can be observed more easily. A mouse has a habit of crouching and doubling up and it is difficult to tell whether it is being gassed or merely taking a nap, and the observer has to continually keep poking it to discover what condition it really is in. The bird should be carried in a cage completely made of wire, in order to ensure that it is always exposed to the air travelled through. If a wooden cage, with a wire front is used, there will be a pocket of air in the cage, which is never changed, so that reliable results can never be obtained. In a slight percentage of carbon monoxide, the bird, which should be supplied with a perch, will first of all seem to be restless and uneasy. It will then begin to vomit or attempt to vomit, seeds. After a short period of this distress, it will beat its wings violently and at last fall backwards in a collapsed state. If only the very slightest gas is present, as shown by the earlier symptoms of the bird, rescue apparatus should always be worn. It may be noted here that a bird is only used for testing for carbon monoxide. It will not show a dangerous percentage of firedamp or blackdamp, as it can live comfortably in such a small amount of oxygen, when mixed with these gases, as would render a man unconscious.

Canary Oxygen Cage

Symptoms of Gas Poisoning

As shown the deadly character of carbon monoxide, in ten minutes, less that one percent causes serious symptoms of gas poisoning, and one percent death in human beings. This time is considerably shortened if a man is working or undergoing exertion of any kind. As previously remarked, a man collapses instantly if exposed to one or two percent of carbon monoxide. But if only a slight amount is present he would suffer most of all the following symptoms; Faintness singing noises in the head, dizziness, headache at the base of the skull, everything handled feels spongy and twice the usual size, panting, paralysis, commencing with the extremities, and, shortly after, death. Headache at the base of the skull and paralysis are characteristic of carbon monoxide poisoning. The headache at that particular spot is due to the nerves, each of which is affected by the gas bunching together there before entering the brain, the result being a concentration of pain. The paralysis occurs when fifty per cent of the blood corpuscles affected, and is due principally to oxygen starvation, as in the case of a tourniquet being applied to a limb.


Page 7