Many people in hospice have oxygen prescribed to help them with breathing issues. While oxygen improves their quality of life, it does come with some risks. Oxygen isn’t a gas, but it does react with any combustible materials or sparks in or around the area.
For instance, if the house would catch on fire while oxygen is in use, the oxygen would make the fire burn much quicker than the average blaze. When you use these devices in the home, it increases the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, and it also accumulates on your items such as furniture and clothes. So, this makes it much easier for a fire to start and move quickly.
Tips for Oxygen Safety
Here are a few tips to observe if there’s an oxygen tank in your home.
Avoid Aerosol Sprays
Aerosol sprays are known for their combustible materials, so these must never be used in the home with oxygen.
Avoid cigarette smoking in the home where these machines are present. Unfortunately, there’s no safe distance that you can observe, so all smoking must be done outside.
Keep Open Flames Away
Open flames like candles can be a recipe for disaster. You must keep at least 15 feet of distance from any open flames and these machines.
Beware of Kitchen Dangers
The kitchen can be a troublesome area with oxygen. While the microwave is not going to present a problem, you need to be careful about cooking with oil. Anything that splatters can be dangerous, as all it takes is one small spark.
Keep Tanks in the Open
Don’t store an oxygen tank in a closet or other confined space, whether it’s in use or not.
Avoid Baseboards or Space Heaters
As winter arrives, more people will be using space heaters and baseboards. However, oxygen can be dangerous around something with an electric motor. Though the chance of an incident is rare, a spark is all it takes to start a blaze.
Make Sure Smoke Detectors Work
You need to make sure your smoke detectors are working and have a good battery life so that they can alert you of issues. Things can quickly get out of hand, and you need ample time to help yourself and a hospice patient get outside.
While you’re undoubtedly concerned about fire safety, other issues can come from having tanks and tubes running across the floor. It’s easy to trip and fall if you’re not paying attention. It’s best to tape lines to the floor to ensure that it’s less of a slip-trip hazard.
Many people use oxygen every day to help them breathe, and it’s perfectly safe if you follow a few protocols.