When used correctly oxygen is safe
We complete thorough risk assessments and health and safety checks before any oxygen equipment is installed in a patient’s home. Patients also need to follow these guidelines:
Do not smoke
Do not let anyone smoke near you
Smoking is dangerous when oxygen is being used.
Patient’s must not use e-cigarettes or be close to somebody using an e-cigarette when using oxygen.
Keep oxygen away from fire
All oxygen equipment should be kept well away from candles (including scented candles), barbecues, fires and gas cookers.
Smoke alarms should be installed. They must be regularly checked to ensure they are working and their batteries do not need replacing. We inform the Fire and Rescue Service that patients have oxygen in their home, who will contact the patient to complete a safe and well check. Patients should also tell them what equipment they have and where they store it.
Our Healthcare Technician will check smoke alarms are in working order when oxygen is installed. Should a patient not have any working smoke alarms, we will inform the Fire and Rescue Service, who may be able to help install them.
Keep away from heat
Oxygen helps fires to burn. Patients must keep away from fire. Patients must ensure that any oxygen is kept away from gas fires, cookers and heaters etc. Recommended distance for oxygen therapy equipment from fires 3m (10ft); radiators and heaters
Turn it off
Patients should make sure that oxygen is turned off when it isn’t being used. When oxygen is being used, patients should always make sure the nasal prongs or mask are not left on any soft material (for example, blankets, clothes, sofas or cushions) for any amount of time. Oxygen may soak into the material and can increase the risk of having a fire.
Patients must wait 20 minutes after using oxygen before getting close to anything that has a flame.
Patients should make sure there is fresh air when using oxygen. They should try to keep a window or door in the room ajar when the equipment is in use.
Keeping all equipment clean
A clean damp cloth and mild non-scratch cleaning materials should be used to clean equipment, it should be allowed to dry properly before using.
Oxygen and emollients
Lotions, creams, lip balms and skin products contain the ingredients paraffin or oil, these can react when used with oxygen therapy.
Some users of oxygen therapy have creams or emollients prescribed to them for medical skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. When using a cream or emollient that contains oil or paraffin it is important that patients speak with a Healthcare Professional or pharmacist to ensure their safety.
Emollients and creams that contain petroleum or oil, can soak into bedding, clothing, bandages, and hair. This can make them more flammable, especially when used with oxygen therapy. When using emollients or creams that contain these ingredients, patients must avoid being close to anything that could start a fire, including matches, lighters, e-cigarettes, cookers, halogen heaters and lit cigarettes. It is also essential that patients apply the minimum amount required and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water after application.
The Medical Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have released specific guidance related to the safe use of creams and emollients. Advice includes, washing of bedding and clothing regularly, keeping creams away from soft furnishings, avoiding smoking and telling friends and family about their use. Please take note that patients should wash fabrics at the highest suitable temperature to remove oils and grease, this can reduce the risk of fire but may not remove the risk altogether.
Baywater Healthcare recommend that patients avoid using creams or emollients containing oil or petroleum on their face and hands when using oxygen therapy. It is safer to use a water-based cream or lubricant if they are able. Patients should speak to a Healthcare Professional or pharmacist for guidance on the safest product to use.
This small white plastic piece must never be removed from tubing, patients should make sure that the blue arrow is pointing to them. A firebreak will stop a fire spreading in tubing.
A firebreak is not included on the tubing for the small portable cylinders.
Patients should make sure their tubing does not get trapped or crushed under doors/furniture as this can stop/reduce the oxygen flow.
Tubing should be kept away from feet when walking and care taken not to slip or trip over it. Patients should be aware of where their tubing is at any time, particularly when they stand up. Particular care should be taken when on or near stairs. Patients may find it easier to drape tubing over their shoulder when they are using oxygen while walking.
If patients are taken into hospital, they should ensure paramedics leave their tubing in place as they will need it when they are discharged. If tubing is taken, patients should call us for replacements in advance of their discharge.
Fixed oxygen tubing
For safety reasons, fixed oxygen tubing is recommended by Healthcare Professionals. This is when the tubing is secured to skirting boards and around door frames.
Our Healthcare Technician will visit and check patients oxygen equipment every six months. If there is a problem with the oxygen concentrator patients should use their emergency cylinder and call us on 0800 373580.
Cylinder safety and storage
Cylinders must be firmly secured where they cannot be knocked over or fall on anyone.
If a small portable cylinder is being carried in a wheelchair or pushchair it must be safely secured and balanced. If carry straps on the cylinder bag are used, they must be firmly secured.
Back-up cylinders are provided along with an oxygen concentrator in case of a power cut or machine failure and should only be used in this instance.
The backup cylinder should be located somewhere that the patient can easily reach it should it be needed. A torch should be kept to hand in case the cylinder is required when it is dark.
All oxygen equipment should be stored in a cool place that has good air flow around it. It must be kept away from any item with the flammable logo or has the ingredient of oil in the ingredients list on the packaging. Cylinders can be laid flat and work equally well.
If patients have tradespeople working in their home, they should be made aware of the location of oxygen equipment and any installed fixed tubing along with the precautions required.
Following the advice given
Our Healthcare Technicians have had extensive training. We ask that patients follow their advice at all times, if they are unsure of anything, they should call us on 0800 373580.
Oxygen is only for the patient
Oxygen is a medically prescribed drug, and should only be used by the person it has been ordered for. Under no circumstances should anyone else use it.