Ensuring Safety with Medical Oxygen

In recent years, the use of portable medical oxygen in homes has seen a significant increase. While medical oxygen plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life for many individuals, it also presents certain safety challenges. The Statesville Fire Department is dedicated to ensuring the safety of our community members.  Below are some essential safety guidelines for handling medical oxygen in your home.

Understanding the Risks

Medical oxygen enriches the air with a higher percentage of oxygen to support individuals with respiratory conditions. However, it's vital to recognize that fire requires oxygen to burn. In the presence of oxygen-enriched air, materials can ignite more quickly and lead to dangerous fires. This is why homes using medical oxygen need to adhere to specific fire safety rules to protect occupants from fire hazards and burns.

Key Safety Guidelines

  1. Oxygen and Fabrics Don't Mix: Oxygen can saturate fabric-covered furniture, clothing, hair, and bedding, making them more flammable. To reduce the risk, ensure that oxygen users stay away from open flames and heat sources.
  2. No Smoking Allowed: There is no safe way to smoke in a home where oxygen is in use. Smoking in such an environment poses an extreme fire hazard. Patients on oxygen should never smoke, and it's crucial to communicate this clearly to everyone in the household.
  3. Avoid Ignition Sources: Candles, matches, wood stoves, and even sparking toys can serve as ignition sources. In homes with medical oxygen, it's essential to eliminate these items or use alternatives that do not pose a fire risk.
  4. Proper Cylinder Placement: Keep oxygen cylinders at least five feet away from heat sources, open flames, or electrical devices. This ensures that any potential fire hazards are kept at a safe distance from the oxygen supply.
  5. Beware of Oil and Grease: Items containing oil and grease, such as body oil and hand lotion, can easily ignite when exposed to oxygen-enriched air. Keep these substances away from areas where oxygen is in use to prevent accidents.
  6. Avoid Combustible Sprays: Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near oxygen equipment. These sprays can introduce flammable particles into the air and create a dangerous environment.
  7. Clear Signage: It's important to post "No Smoking" and "No Open Flames" signs both inside and outside the home. These reminders serve as a visual cue to prevent accidents and keep everyone safe.

Safety should always be a top priority when using medical oxygen in the home. By following these guidelines, you can significantly reduce the risk of fire and burns associated with oxygen-enriched environments. The Statesville Fire Department is here to support and educate our community on fire safety, and we encourage all residents to take these precautions seriously to protect themselves and their loved ones. If you have any questions or concerns regarding medical oxygen safety, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for assistance and guidance. Your safety is our priority.

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227 S. Center Street.
Statesville, NC 28677
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