Home Oxygen Safety
Although generally safe, oxygen poses a fire risk and as such you’ll need to take certain safety steps. Oxygen itself isn’t explosive, but it can worsen a fire. In the presence of oxygen, a small fire can quickly get out of control. Also, the cylinder that compressed oxygen gas comes in might explode if exposed to heat.
- Oxygen canisters should be kept at least 5-10 feet away from gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, wood stoves, candles or other sources of open flames.
- Do not use electric razors while using oxygen. (These are a possible source of sparks.)
- Do not use oil, grease or petroleum-based products on the equipment. Do not use it near you while you use oxygen.
- These materials are highly flammable and will burn readily and violently in an oxygen rich environment. Avoid oil or petroleum-based lotions or creams, like Vaseline, on your face or upper chest. Check the ingredients of such products before purchase. Refrain from using aerosol sprays. If a skin moisturizer is needed, consider using cocoa butter, aloe vera or other similar products. For lubrication or re-hydration of dry nasal passages, use water-based products. Your pharmacist or care provider can suggest these.
- Never leave oxygen supply running when not in use. Oxygen can enrich various materials and cause them to become extremely flammable.
- Use your concentrator in a well-ventilated area.
- Post signs in every room where oxygen is in use. Make sure that absolutely NO SMOKING occurs in the home or in the car when oxygen is in use.
- Secure an oxygen cylinder to a solidly fixed object to avoid creating a missile out of the tank. This might happen if it was accidentally knocked over and gas was allowed to escape.
- Use caution with oxygen tubing so you do not trip over it or become entangled in furniture.
- Be familiar with the equipment and the safety checks established by your RRT. Keep ARC Network’s contact telephone numbers, and the numbers for other emergency services, posted near a phone. Do not try to repair broken equipment on your own. Request this service from ARC.
- Make sure smoke detectors in the home are working, install fresh batteries, and perform monthly checks. Have a fire extinguisher available in the home (use type ABC). Create and practice an escape and rescue plan in the event of a fire.
- Notify the local fire department, gas and electric companies and telephone company when home oxygen therapy is started. Request a “priority service listing.” This is for those times when there is a power or telephone failure or repairs are needed on any utility.
- In the event of a fire, evacuate the premises immediately and contact 911. Advise the emergency operator of the presence of gas cylinders in the house. Contact ARC thereafter, when you are able.
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