The use of portable medical oxygen in the home has grown over the past decade. Medical oxygen adds a higher percentage of oxygen to the air. If a fire were to start in an oxygen-enriched area, the fire will burn hotter and faster. When oxygen has been used, it can saturate the home including clothing, carpets, curtains, furniture, bedding and anything in the area making it easier for a fire to start and spread. Homes where medical oxygen is used need specific fire safety rules to keep people safe from fire and burns.
Call 705-472-1221 to report if you have oxygen in your home.
Preventing Fires and Burns
- There is no safe way to smoke in the home when oxygen is in use. Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used.
- Oxygen canisters should be kept at least 5-10 feet away from a heat source including gas stoves, lighted fireplaces, woodstoves, candles, bbq’s or other sources of open flames including devices which can cause sparks (electric razors and some toys).
- 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 with the presence of oxygen. Avoid petroleum-based lotions or creams, like Vaseline, on your face or upper chest. Check the ingredients of such products before purchase. If a skin moisturizer is needed, consider using cocoa butter, aloe vera or other similar products. For lubrication or rehydration of dry nasal passages, use water-based products. Your pharmacist or care provider can suggest these.
- 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.
- Do not use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
- Make sure there are ‘working’ smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside all sleeping areas. Test them monthly. Create and practice a home fire escape and plan.