New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control
HOME OXYGEN FIRE SAFETY A Fact Sheet for Home Oxygen Users
This bulletin provides general safety information for oxygen equipment used for medical purposes in private homes, apartments and condominiums.
Oxygen Liquid oxygen @Do not use liquid oxygen vessels that exceed 10 gallons. Oxygen is not flammable, but it can Oxygen is stored as a very cold cause other materials that burn to liquid in a vessel very similar to a Safety
thermos. When released, the liquid ignite more easily and to burn far @Never smoke while using oxygen. more rapidly. The result is that a converts to a gas and you breathe it fire involving oxygen can appear in just like compressed gas. This @Warn visitors not to smoke near storage method takes up less space you when you are using oxygen. explosive-like. Oxygen is of great benefit to those in need of than the compressed gas cylinder, @Post at least one NO SMOKING respiratory therapy but it should and you can transfer the liquid to a sign in a prominent place at the always be handled with caution and small, portable vessel at home. entrance to your home. Liquid oxygen is more expensive awareness of the potential hazards. @ than the compressed gas and the When you go to a restaurant with The Equipment vessel vents when it is not in use. your portable oxygen source, sit There are three common ways of An oxygen-conserving device may in the nonsmoking section and providing oxygen therapy. Oxygen be built into the vessel to conserve away from any open flame such can be delivered to your home in as candles or warming burners. the oxygen. the form of a gas in various-sized @Stay at least five feet from gas cylinders or as a liquid in a vessel. Oxygen Concentrator stoves, candles, lighted fireplaces The third way to provide oxygen This is an electronically powered and other heat sources. therapy is by using an oxygen device that separates the oxygen @Keep oxygen cylinders and concentrator. Each method is out of the air, concentrates it, and vessels in a well-ventilated area examined in more detail below. stores it. This system has a number (not in closets, behind curtains, or Compressed Gas of advantages because it doesn’t other confined space). The small have to be re-supplied and it is not Oxygen is stored under pressure in amount of oxygen gas that is as costly as liquid oxygen. Extra continually vented from these a cylinder equipped with a tubing permits the user to move regulator that controls the flow rate. units can accumulate in a around with minimal difficulty. confined space and become a fire Because the flow of oxygen out of Small, portable systems have been the cylinder is constant, an oxygen- hazard. developed that afford even greater @ conserving device may be attached mobility. You must have a cylinder Keep oxygen cylinders and to the system to avoid waste. This of oxygen as a backup in the event vessels a minimum of 8 feet from device releases the gas only when of a power failure. heaters, heat producing and you inhale and cuts it off when you electrical appliances. exhale. Oxygen can be provided in Quantity Limits a small cylinder that can be carried @Do not use individual compressed with you, but the large tanks are gas oxygen cylinders that exceed heavy and are only suitable for 250 cubic feet at normal stationary use. temperature and pressure.
New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control Department of State 99 Washington Avenue Albany, New York 12231 (518) 474-6746 Home Oxygen Fire Safety Fact Sheet page 2
@Secure oxygen cylinders and vessels to a fixed ob- ject or place in a stand.
@Oxygen cylinders and vessels must remain upright at all times. Never tip an oxygen cylinder or vessel on WARNING its side or try to roll it to a new location.
@Always operate oxygen cylinder or container valves RISK OF COLD-CONTACT slowly. Abrupt starting and stopping of oxygen flow BURNS may ignite any contaminant that might be in the sys- tem. Liquid oxygen is extremely cold @Turn the cylinder valve off when not using your (-297 degrees Fahrenheit). oxygen. Touching liquid oxygen or parts @Only use a properly grounded wall outlet of an oxygen system in contact @for your oxygen concentrator. with liquid oxygen can quickly @Do not use extension cords for your oxygen concen- freeze the skin. The vapors from trator. the liquid oxygen are also @Do not place the electrical cord or oxygen tubing extremely cold and can damage under rugs or furniture. delicate tissues, such as eyes. @Do not use any flammable products like cleaning To prevent injury from freezing, fluids, paint thinner, or aerosol sprays while using never allow any unprotected skin your oxygen. to contact frosted parts of liquid @ Keep all grease, oil and petroleum products (even oxygen vessels and stand clear small amounts) and flammable materials away from your oxygen equipment. Some organic materials can of vapors. @react violently with oxygen if ignited by a hot spark.
@Do not use bedding or clothes made of wool, nylon or synthetic fabrics as these materials have the ten- dency to produce static electricity. The use of cotton material bedding and clothes will avoid sparks from static electricity.
@Do not allow children or untrained individuals to handle or operate oxygen equipment.
@Always have your gas supplier’s number handy.
@Ensure that you have an all purpose fire extinguisher close by and familiarize yourself with its use. New York State Department of State Office of Fire Prevention & Control 99 Washington Avenue Albany, NY 12231 (518) 474-6746 http://www.dos.state.ny.us/fire/firewww.html