Home oxygen therapy is extremely effective, but portable medical oxygen tanks and oxygen concentrators add an increased risk in the home, particularly for fire. That’s because fire needs oxygen to burn, and any material that catches fire will burn much more quickly due to the increased levels of pure oxygen.
Patients who use home oxygen therapy are trained on the safety dos and don’ts. But patients aren’t the only ones affected. Visiting family and friends, neighbors and emergency first responders can all be harmed around home oxygen therapy – and those same people may inadvertently introduce risk.
The best way to stay safe is for everyone to be aware when around home oxygen equipment.
There are 10 safety hazards hidden in this 360 photo. Can you spot them all? Click and drag to search the whole room. For a better view, click on the box in the bottom right corner to expand.
Did you find all 10 safety hazards?
1. Tank stored upright without support
Oxygen tanks should not stand upright unless properly secured. If an unsecured tank falls over, the tank could become damaged. In some cases a rupture can effectively turn the tank into a high-speed missile, putting people in the room at risk.
2. Tank stored near stove/oven
Oxygen canisters should be kept at least 5 feet away from any source of heat. This also includes space heaters, electric blankets and fireplaces.
3. Blanket draped over tank or concentrator
Blankets or clothing draped over an oxygen concentrator or tank can cause oxygen to accumulate in the area, creating a fire hazard. Tanks should not be stored in closets or car trunks for the same reason.
4. Concentrator plugged into extension cord with multiple appliances plugged in
Using an oxygen concentrator plugged into an extension cord and/or sharing an outlet with other appliances is discouraged. Overloading an electrical outlet is a fire hazard. A tangled or wrapped extension cord can also trap heat, making a fire more likely.
Home oxygen therapy should never be used near an open flame. Even a small flame, like on a candle, can quickly burn out of control in the presence of pure oxygen.
6. Container of petroleum jelly
When you use petroleum-based products, like Vicks, Vaseline or Chapstick, on your skin, they can react with violently with oxygen and cause burns.
7. Cigarettes/ash tray
Never smoke while using home oxygen therapy or while in the presence of someone using it. If you must smoke, turn the oxygen off, go outside, wait 10 minutes and then light up.
8. Spray can of air freshener
Be careful around aerosol products, such as air fresheners, body or hair spray, as they’re highly flammable.
9. No smoke detector installed/no fire extinguisher
Due to the increased fire risk while using home oxygen therapy, installing a smoke detector and fire extinguisher is recommended.
10. No sign warning visitors oxygen is in use
Home oxygen therapy can put more than just the patient at risk. Family, friends and emergency first responders need to be aware that oxygen therapy is being used in the home.