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Only you can prevent portable oxygen fires

Oct. 8, 2017—If you or someone in your home uses medical oxygen, you should be aware of the potential fire hazard. If a fire starts in an area where portable oxygen is being used, the oxygen will make the fire burn faster and spread more easily, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 8–14, is a great time to review fire safety tips and take steps to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Steps for safety

These safety measures can help medical oxygen be used safely in your home:

Get serious about a no-smoking rule. Smoking in the home is never a good idea. But it's even more dangerous when oxygen is in use. No patient on oxygen should smoke. You might even put a "No Smoking" sign in any room where oxygen is used.

Beware of ignition sources. Items like candles, matches, wood stoves and toys that spark can easily ignite a blaze. Don't keep them in a home using medical oxygen. Other possible ignition sources include space heaters and electric blankets.

Give oxygen some personal space. Oxygen cylinders should be kept at least 6 feet away from heat sources, open flames or electrical devices. Be mindful in restaurants too—be aware of all sources of fire, such as stoves, candles and fireplaces.

Use caution with oils and lotions. Body oil, hand lotions and other items with oil and grease in them can ignite easily. Keep them away from areas where oxygen is being used. Talk to your doctor or respiratory therapist about which items are safe.

Stay clear of aerosols. Hairspray, and other sprays that contain combustibles, should never be used near oxygen.

Store oxygen safely. Don't keep it in a trunk, box or small closet. Also, store it away from liquids that burn, such as oil-based cleaning products, grease and alcohol.

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