When used correctly oxygen is safe
We take safety seriously, completing thorough risk assessments and health & safety checks before any home oxygen therapy equipment is installed in your home. You also need to follow these guidelines:
Do not smoke do not let anyone smoke near you
Smoking will aggravate your condition and is dangerous when home oxygen therapy is being used.
You must not use E-Cigarettes whilst using home oxygen therapy. For more information click here
Keep oxygen away from naked flames
All home oxygen therapy equipment should be kept well away from naked flames such as candles of any kind, barbecues, open fires and gas cookers. Contact your local fire brigade for more information about safety.
Keep away from heat
Oxygen is not explosive but it will help fires to burn more fiercely. Ensure that your home oxygen therapy cylinders are kept away from fires, cookers and heaters etc. Recommended distance for home oxygen therapy equipment from: open fires 3m (10ft); closed fires 1.5m (5ft).
Regularly check your smoke detectors to ensure they are working and their batteries do not need replacing. We inform the Fire & Rescue Service that you have home oxygen therapy equipment in your home, who will contact you to complete a fire safety check if we haven’t completed one for you. You should also tell them what home oxygen therapy equipment you have and where you store it. Our Healthcare Technicians will check your smoke detectors are in working order when your home oxygen therapy equipment is installed. Should you not have any working smoke detectors, we will inform the Fire & Rescue Service.
Be aware of the air around
Concentrator machines take air from their surroundings and separate it to extract oxygen. If the concentrator machine is used near heaters or fires, fumes in the air may not be completely removed. Recommended distance from: open fires 3m (10ft); closed fires 1.5m (5ft).
Turn it off
Make sure the oxygen supply is turned off when it isn’t being used. When home oxygen therapy is being used, always make sure the cannula or mask is not left on any soft material (for example, blankets, clothes, sofas or cushions) for any amount of time. Oxygen may be absorbed into the material and make it more flammable. Oxygen will remain in clothing for up to 20 mins after it has been turned off, precautions should still be taken when near flames etc. Remember to allow 5-10 minutes after switching a concentrator machine off to allow all the oxygen to leave the system.
Always make sure that any home oxygen therapy equipment is used in a well ventilated area, and try to keep a window or door in the room ajar when your home oxygen therapy equipment is in use.
Keeping all equipment clean
Only use a clean damp cloth and mild non-scratch cleaning materials to clean the equipment and allow the equipment to dry properly before using.
Do not use oils or grease with oxygen equipment. Ensure that your hands are clean when handling any home oxygen therapy equipment.
Avoid using anything containing oil on the skin
Do not use oils or grease on any area of skin that comes into contact with the home oxygen therapy equipment. Only use water based creams. Speak to a pharmacist for advice.
Never remove this small white plastic piece from the tubing and make sure that the arrow on the firebreak is pointing towards the patient. This small white piece will stop a fire spreading up the tubing if one end catches fire. A firebreak is not included on the tubing for portable oxygen cylinders.
Make sure your oxygen tubing does not get trapped or crushed under doors/furniture as this can stop/reduce the oxygen flow.
Keep tubing away from feet when walking and take care not to slip or trip over it. Take care where your oxygen tubing is at any particular time and find a way of coping with it. This is very important if you have a long length to get to other rooms and you are near the source (wall-tap or concentrator), as the spare tubing will coil near your feet. Take particular care when on or near stairs. When walking you may find it easier to drape the oxygen tubing over your shoulder.
If you are taken into hospital, ensure paramedics leave your oxygen tubing in place as you will need it when you are discharged. If your oxygen tubing is taken, please call our Healthcare Helpline for replacements in advance of your discharge.
Piped in oxygen
For safety reasons, piped-in oxygen is a standard procedure as agreed with your Healthcare Professional.
The concentrator machine
Make sure the flow rate on the oxygen concentrator machine is set to the flow rate ordered by the Healthcare Professional. Never change the flow rate unless specifically told to do so and shown how to by our Healthcare Technician. Remember:
- Keep the concentrator machine upright at all times
- Plug the concentrator machine into the mains, do not use an extension lead
- Never open or remove the concentrator machine cover
Servicing of your home oxygen therapy equipment
Baywater Healthcare will service the oxygen concentrator machine every six months. If there is a problem with the concentrator machine use your back up cylinder and call our Healthcare Helpline. It is essential that you only use the back up cylinder in the event of a concentrator machine failure or power cut.
If you use home oxygen therapy cylinders in the home, make sure they are firmly secured and cannot be knocked over or fall on anyone. If a portable oxygen cylinder is being carried in a wheelchair, scooter or pushchair make sure that it is safely secured and balanced. If you use the straps on the cylinder bag, make sure they are firmly secured.
Back up home oxygen therapy cylinders
Back up oxygen cylinders are provided along with an oxygen concentrator in case of a power cut or machine failure. It is essential that you only use the back up cylinder in the event of a concentrator machine failure or power cut. Remember: the back up cylinder should be located somewhere that you can easily reach it should it be needed. Keep a torch to hand in case the oxygen cylinder is required when it is dark.
This type of home oxygen therapy is not provided to every patient because it is not always suitable. Always keep the portable unit in an upright position – if it falls over, simply stand the unit up again. Never move the large dewar, if you would like it in another place please speak to your Healthcare Technician when you next see them. Wearing gloves to help prevent inadvertently touching frosted connectors and keeping your face and eyes away from the connections or wearing suitable eye protection when filling your portable units are sensible precautions. Remember:
- Never carry the portable unit under any clothing
- Never let anyone touch the frosted connectors on the portable unit or the large dewar, this could cause a skin burn as the liquid oxygen is frozen to -183Oc
- If the large dewar falls over and a stream of liquid oxygen spills out, open all the doors and windows, leave the area and call our Healthcare Helpline
Trades people in your home
If you have tradesmen working in your home, make them aware of the location of home oxygen therapy equipment and any installed pipe-work along with the precautions required.
Follow the advice given
Our Healthcare Technicians have had extensive training. We ask that you follow their advice at all times, if you are unsure about what they have told you, please call us 0800 373580.
Your oxygen is for you
Oxygen is a medically prescribed drug, and should only be used by the person it has been prescribed for. Under no circumstances should you allow anyone else to use it.