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Safety Issues
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Treatment of COPD

Home oxygen is safe.
Oxygen is not addictive.

Safety Issues

Fire

  • Oxygen will not “blow-up” but it will support combustion; it is a fuel for the flame/fire.
  • DO NOT SMOKE while wearing your oxygen. Nasal cannulas and masks can catch fire and cause serious burns to face and airways.
  • Do not use flammable liquids such as: paint thinners, cleaning fluids, gasoline, kerosene, oil-based paints, aerosol sprays, etc while using oxygen.
  • Keep fire extinguisher in working order and in areas where you use your oxygen (dry or CO2 extinguishers).
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your house. Alarms should be checked monthly and change batteries at least once a year.

Storage

  • Do not store oxygen cylinders and liquid systems in closets, behind curtains, covered with clothing or in unventilated areas. These oxygen systems ‘vent’ or ‘let off’ a small amount of oxygen and this vented gas can accumulate in confined space and become a fire hazard.
  • Secure oxygen cylinders in racks or appropriate stands.
  • Turn cylinder valves to the ‘off’ position when not in use.
  • Do not use bedding or clothes made of wool, nylon, or synthetic fabrics, as these materials have the tendency to produce static electricity. The use of cotton material bedding and clothes will avoid sparks from static electricity.
  • Do not store oxygen cylinders in the trunk of your car.

Inform

  • Inform your electrical company if you are using a concentrator and/or ventilator so in case of a power failure they will know the medical urgency of restoring your power.
  • Post a “No Smoking” sign outside of your home.
  • Inform your local fire department that you have oxygen in the home.

Everyday Safety

  • Keep at least eight feet away from open flames, i.e. candles, barbeque grills, cigarettes, cigars, gas stoves, fireplaces,
  • Avoid using heat sources such as space heaters, electric blankets, hair dryers, etc. while using oxygen.
  • Use properly grounded electrical outlets for oxygen concentrators.
  • Do not run oxygen tubing or electrical cords under carpets or furniture.
  • Do not use oil or petroleum-based products. Vaseline products should not be used for dryness. Instead try water-based products such as K-Y jelly.
  • When in a restaurant, choose to sit in no smoking areas and remove candles and warming burners from table.
  • Check equipment for proper functioning.
  • Keep oxygen supplier phone number handy, in case you need their help.
  • Liquid oxygen is extremely cold (-297 degrees Fahrenheit). Touching liquid oxygen or parts of oxygen system can quickly freeze skin. Also the vapors form the liquid oxygen are cold and could cause damage to the skin or lungs.
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© 2005 American Association for Respiratory Care

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