Oxygen Therapy Safety – How to Prevent Fires and Other Hazards

Oxygen concentrators are very safe to use, but just like with any piece of electrical or mechanical equipment they require some basic safety measures you will need to take if you are using one. Any electronic device can be a potential fire hazard, and fire is fueled by oxygen, which is produced in a pure form by oxygen concentrators. It easy to prevent fire or other hazards from happening.

To Prevent Fires or Fire Damage:

  • Keep your oxygen canisters away from anything that produces heat or flame, at least 5 to 10 feet away. Gas stoves, lit fireplaces, wood-stoves and space heaters.
  • Electric razors can produce sparks, so don't shave with them while using oxygen.
  • Do not use any petroleum based products on or near your oxygen equipment. Do not use any petroleum based products on your skin, either. If you need moisture for your nasal passages due to drying out by your nasal cannula, use a water based moisturizer.
  • Restrict people from smoking in your home or in your car while you are using oxygen.
  • Keep a few fire extinguishers in your home, preferably one on each floor, or 2 on each floor if you have a large house.
  • Have a fire escape plan, in case a fire does break out in your home and its too big to extinguish. Getting out with your life and the lives of your family is most important.
  • Make sure the smoke detectors in your home are working and have batteries that aren't depleted.

To Prevent Any Other Accidents or Dangers:

  • Be familiar with the equipment, and read the owners manual for your oxygen equipment.
  • Post the contact number for the manufacturer or medical supply company near your phone, as well as the numbers of the fire department and other emergency services where you can see them in case of an emergency.
  • Be wary of the nasal cannula, which can be a trip hazard. Coiled tubing that stretches far without hanging down low might be a good alternative. You can also use zip ties or bread ties to keep longer pieces of tubing from hanging down where they can get tangled in clothing or furniture.
  • Never let a loose oxygen tank sit around. Securely strap it to a cart or a stand, whether you are using it or not. If it gets knocked over and some gas leaks out, it can become a missile and cause harm as well as quickly become a fire hazard.
  • You should let certain safety and utility companies know that you use oxygen therapy, in case there is a widespread emergency or a blackout. You will be a top priority to receive help, because you need electricity to run your medically necessary piece of equipment. Notify your electric, gas, and telephone company, as well as your local fire department.
About Scott Ridl: Scott joined American Medical Sales and Rentals in 2008 as a Web Manager and Content Writer. He is a writer and designer. He is extensively trained on oxygen therapy products from leading manufacturers such as Inogen, Respironics, Chart, Invacare, ResMed and more. Scott works closely with respiratory therapists and oxygen specialists to educate the community about oxygen therapy products, COPD, asthma and lung diseases. He writes weekly columns and is passionate about educating the community on oxygen therapy and respiratory issues.

2 thoughts on “Oxygen Therapy Safety – How to Prevent Fires and Other Hazards”

  • Earl Robinson

    I have been diagnosed with IPF and require oxygen (3 ml) 24/7 and plan to mow my lawn with a riding mower. I would think this is safe but wanted to double check with you experts. Thank you.

    • Sanket Jain

      Thank you for your inquiry. I have passed along your information to a specialist who will reach out regarding your request. For more immediate assistance feel free to give our specialists a call at 888-360-9628 or if you prefer email [email protected]


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