Breathe Easy: Important Safety Tips for Your Home Oxygen System
Many of our wonderful customers have come to us for the supply and support of home oxygen systems. We know the great relief these oxygen systems can bring, but we also know the associated risks. That is why making our oxygen customers aware of potential dangers and the precautions that can lessen the chances of injury or damage is a top priority for us.
The greatest risk when using oxygen is the potential for fire. Smoking while using oxygen is incredibly dangerous and can cause a cigarette, cigar or pipe to burst into flames and ignite clothing and nearby furniture. Even if you do not smoke, sparks or heat from a nearby smoker can be enough to cause a fire.
Certain electrical appliances can also trigger a fire when in close proximity to your oxygen, especially when first being plugged in. Electrical appliances that create a heat source are also more likely to start a fire, such as a hair dryer or space heater.
Oxygen can also cause a fire in a poorly ventilated vehicle, so we urge you to take proper precautions when driving with your oxygen.
Fortunately, there are many ways to keep yourself safe and breathing easy. Here are a few of our top tips for oxygen safety:
• Post “No Smoking – Oxygen in Use” signs on all entrance and exit doors in your home and workplace, if possible. This will not only keep people from smoking around you, but can also alert the fire department personnel that oxygen is being used if they are ever called to your location.
• Read, understand and follow the oxygen device instructions. If you have any questions about the functions, features, set-up, maintenance or use or your oxygen, please let us know and we will be happy to answer all of your questions.
• Never smoke while using oxygen or when near an oxygen supply device. Avoid being in close proximity to someone who is smoking.
• Keep yourself and the oxygen supply device at least five to six feet away from any fire, stove, oven, grill, candles or other heat source or open flame, electrical appliances that make sparks and elements that produce high heat (toaster, space heater, hair dryer, electric razor, electric igniter, etc).
• Do not use flammable aerosol sprays (spray paint, hair spray) or rubbing alcohol near the oxygen supply in case of spontaneous burning.
• Do not use petroleum based products such as cosmetic oils, waxes, petroleum jelly or greases on your face because they can easily burn in the presence of oxygen. Instead, use water-based products such as KY Jelly.
• Avoid static electric spark conditions such as synthetic blankets.
• Store spare oxygen tanks so they cannot be tipped, hit or knocked over. If a tank gets knocked over and damaged, the gas can escape and make the tank act like a rocket. It is best to lay them down flat.
• Keep a fire extinguisher in the area of oxygen use.
• Ensure smoke detectors are functioning properly.
• Have a strong evacuation plan in case of a fire.
• Do not place oxygen tubing under furniture, bed covers or carpets to ensure proper oxygen flow and to avoid tripping hazards.
• If you live in an older home, you may need to use a grounded three-prong adapter to ensure the safe use of the oxygen concentrator (avoid using extension cords).
• Keep your oxygen concentrator plugged into a wall outlet by itself, making sure no other electronic devices are plugged in to that outlet.
• Store liquid oxygen in a well ventilated area and avoid contact with this very cold substance to avoid burning your skin.
• If you are confined to bed, keep a bell or other means to summon help.
• Do not change the prescribed liter flow without your doctor’s permission.
If there is a fire in your home while you are using oxygen supply, here are quick, necessary steps to follow:
• Shut off the oxygen supply and remove the tubing from the oxygen supply device, if it is possible and safe to do so.
• Get away from the oxygen supply device, oxygen tubing and the fire.
• If the fire is on you, remove the oxygen tubing, stop, drop and roll and pat out any fire.
• Activate the area fire alarm and call 911.
• Contain the fire by shutting room doors.
• Extinguish the fire with water or a fire extinguisher, only if possible and safe to do so.
We hope that you never are put in a situation where your oxygen system creates a risk, and following these helpful suggestions is a great way to lessen the risks.