A doctor may prescribe supplemental oxygen for respiratory disorders such as Pulmonary Fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Utilizing oxygen for chronic cases is a useful tool to keep on hand. When used correctly, oxygen is safe and effective in your home. Although it is not a flammable substance, oxygen can cause a fire to burn more readily, so it is extremely important to use this material carefully.
Supplemental Oxygen Types
There are three types of supplemental oxygen:
- Compressed Gas Cylinder – Compressed gas cylinders takes compressed oxygen and puts it into portable tanks for daily usage. Depending upon the amount of oxygen your doctor recommends, tanks can be delivered on a weekly basis.
- Portable Oxygen Concentrators – POC’s are electrical devices that are to be carried on the patient’s back or pushed on an oxygen cart. These devices do not have tanks, so there is no need to refill. You can also charge these concentrators almost anywhere including in vehicles.
- Liquid Oxygen Systems – With this system, you will have a master tank at home along with a smaller tank to refill whenever you need.
Fire Safety with Oxygen
- Store Tanks in a well-ventilated area and avoid storing them in closets or garages.
- Don’t use petroleum-based gels or ointments around your nasal cavity. These substances can interact with oxygen cause burns when it comes in contact with your skin. “The combustion of flammable products containing petroleum [like Vaseline] can also be supported by the presence of oxygen”.
- Keep your devices and tanks away from open flames. If you decide to barbecue or start a fire in the fireplace, make sure that all of your oxygen equipment is at a safe distance (recommended at least 15 feet away).
- Have a fire extinguisher and know how they work.
- Do NOT smoke. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that 89% of deaths related to fire and home oxygen use are caused by smoking.”
- Avoid coming in direct contact with liquid oxygen. It can be extremely cold and can cause burns.
Other Oxygen Safety Tips for Your Home
- When storing tanks or canisters, make sure that they are standing upright and the unit is turned off when they are not in use.
- When transporting, the tank should be in the back seat with the windows slightly open.
- Do not leave oxygen equipment in your car or trunk. Keep the oxygen tank away from the sun.
- Avoid using long tubing and cords that children can trip over. You can tape the extra tubing to the tank or your back.
- Stay away from items that can possibly cause a spark when around oxygen including hair dryers, electric razors, and electric blankets.
- Smoke detectors should be installed if you need supplemental oxygen. Change the batteries on a regular basis and perform maintenance checks.
- Know your equipment and all of the safety precautions when you know you are going to need an additional supply of oxygen in your home. Ask one of the oxygen supply members to demonstrate the use of any part of the equipment you don’t understand.
Maintaining extra security is essential when you are diagnosed with a pulmonary disorder. The experts at Protect America can talk you through everything that you need for your home security needs.