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Poor visual inspections are the problem not old scuba cylinders

RIVERSIDE, CA, MARCH 4, 1998 - In response to the flood of calls from concerned scuba tank owners following the rupture of another manufacturer's scuba cylinder in a South Florida dive store, Luxfer Gas Cylinders, the world's leading producer of scuba cylinders, issued the following statement today:

"Many owners of scuba tanks would like information regarding the safety of their scuba tanks. As the "Safety First" company, we want to assure all of you that all our high-pressure gas cylinders are safe for use whatever the date of manufacture. But if you are concerned, we strongly recommend you contact a dive store that has a professionally trained visual inspector and have your cylinder visually inspected. In the highly unlikely event there is any problem, even minor, with your cylinder, a competent visual inspection will find it. We recommend scuba technicians who have been certified by PSI, Inc. to carry out visual inspections.

We hope we have addressed your concerns. If you need additional information on tank care, please visit our website at www.luxfercylinders.com where you will find our new guide to cylinder maintenance, called AIRCARE, under the SCUBA Products Care and Maintenance section."

Bill High, founder and director of Professional Scuba Inspectors, Inc. and recognized as the leading industry expert on the visual inspection of scuba cylinders, commented today on the suggested guidelines for the inspection of scuba cylinders proposed by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Dive Association.

"The solutions proposed by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Dive Association do not actually address the problem," said Bill High. "The real problem is untrained visual inspectors who keep damaged cylinders in service. The solution is to require, as the U.S. law does (49CFR172.700), that everyone who handles a cylinder knows what he/she is doing.

"There is nothing inherently wrong with 10, 20 or even 30 year old cylinders," High added. "Certainly, some cylinders should be technically inspected more often than once a year. But, it is not old cylinders that is the problem, it's damaged ones. Florida has had more cylinder explosions than any other part of the world, both steel and aluminum. Why? Because many scuba technicians won't take training. There are also problems created by the warm environment and overfilling is a problem as well. Even the bath tubs used for that unnecessary water bath fill are a concern," High said.

High further suggested to members of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Dive Association that they participate in a PSI-led training session on professional visual inspections, which he offered to conduct personally, and assist in making a statewide set of fill station operator safety standards.

Luxfer Gas Cylinders manufactures more than 2.5 million high-pressure aluminum and composite gas cylinders annually for most major gas markets throughout the world. With plants in Australia and Europe, Luxfer has its U.S. corporate headquarters in Riverside, CA and manufacturing plants in Graham, NC and Riverside, CA.

Note to Editors: Bill High is available for interview. If you wish to speak to him you can contact him at 425/486-2252 or by e-mail at psicylinders@msn.com. PSI also has a website.

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