When used correctly, oxygen is safe.
We complete thorough risk assessments and health and safety checks before any oxygen equipment is installed in your home. You also need to follow these guidelines:
Do not smoke
Do not let anyone smoke near you
Smoking is dangerous when oxygen is being used.
Do not use e-cigarettes or be close to somebody using an e-cigarette when using your oxygen.
Keep oxygen away from fire
All oxygen equipment should be kept well away from candles (including scented candles), barbecues, fires, welding equipment and gas cookers.
Install a smoke alarm. Regularly check your smoke alarm to ensure it is working, and its batteries do not need replacing. We inform the Fire and Rescue Service that you have oxygen in your home, who will contact you to complete a safe and well visit. You should also tell them what equipment you have and where you store it.
Our Healthcare Technician will check your smoke alarms are in working order when oxygen is installed and at any equipment service visits thereafter. Should you 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. Keep away from heat including heaters, hot conservatories and hot vehicles. Recommended distance for oxygen therapy equipment from fires 3m (10ft); radiators and heaters 1.5m (5ft).
Turn it off
Make sure the oxygen is turned off when it isn’t being used. When oxygen is being used, always make sure the nasal prongs or mask is 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.
Remember to wait 20 minutes after using oxygen before getting close to anything that has a flame.
Always make sure there is fresh air when using oxygen. Try to keep a window or door in the room ajar when the equipment is in use.
Keeping all equipment clean
Only use a clean, damp cloth and mild non-scratch cleaning materials to clean the equipment (do not use a scouring pad, wire brush or abrasive cleaning products), and allow it to dry properly before using.
Oxygen and emollients
Lotions, creams, lip balms and skin products contain paraffin or oil; these can react when used with oxygen therapy.
Some oxygen therapy users 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, you must speak with a Healthcare Professional or pharmacist to ensure your safety.
Emollients and creams that contain petroleum or oil can soak into bedding, clothing, bandages, and your hair. This can make them more flammable, especially when used with oxygen therapy. When using emollients or creams that contain these ingredients, 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 you apply the minimum amount required and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after application.
The Medical Healthcare Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released specific guidance on the safe use of creams and emollients. Advice includes:
- Washing bedding and clothing regularly.
- Keeping creams away from soft furnishings.
- Avoiding smoking and tell your friends and family about their use.
- Please note that you should wash fabrics at the highest suitable temperature to remove oils and grease; this can reduce fire risk but may not remove the risk altogether.
Baywater Healthcare recommends that you avoid using creams or emollients containing oil or petroleum on your face and hands when using oxygen therapy. It is safer to use a water-based cream or lubricant if you are able. Speak to a Healthcare Professional or pharmacist for guidance on the safest product to use.
Never remove this small, white, plastic piece from the tubing. A firebreak will stop a fire from spreading in your tubing.
A firebreak is not included on the tubing for the small, portable cylinders.
Make sure your tubing does not get trapped or crushed under doors/furniture, as this can stop/reduce the oxygen flow.
Keep tubing away from your feet when walking, and take care not to slip or trip over it. Be aware of where your tubing is at all times, particularly when you stand up. Take particular care when on or near stairs. When using oxygen while walking, you may find it easier to drape the tubing over your shoulder.
If you are taken into hospital, ensure paramedics leave your tubing in place as you will need it when you are discharged. If your tubing is taken, please call us for replacements in advance of your discharge.
Fixed oxygen tubing
For safety reasons, fixed oxygen tubing is recommended by your Healthcare Professional. This is when the tubing is secured to skirting boards and around door frames.
Our Healthcare Technician will visit and check your oxygen equipment every six months. If there is a problem with the oxygen machine, use your emergency cylinder and call us on 0800 373 580.
Cylinder safety and storage
Ensure cylinders are firmly secured and cannot be knocked over or fall on anyone.
If a small, portable cylinder is being carried in a wheelchair or pushchair, ensure that it is safely secured and balanced. If you use the carry straps on the cylinder bag, ensure they are firmly secured.
Back-up cylinders are provided along with an oxygen machine in case of a power cut or machine failure and should only be used in this instance.
The emergency cylinder should be located somewhere that you can easily reach it should it be needed. Keep a torch to hand in case the cylinder is required when it is dark.
All oxygen equipment should be stored in a cool place with good airflow around it. Keep away from any item with the flammable logo or has the ingredient of oil in the ingredients listed on the packaging. Cylinders can be laid flat and work equally well.
Tradespeople in you home
If you have tradespeople working in your home, make them aware of the location of oxygen equipment and any installed fixed tubing, 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 of anything, please call us on 0800 373 580.
Your oxygen is for you
Oxygen is a medically-prescribed drug and should only be used by the person it has been ordered for. Under no circumstances should you allow anyone else to use it.
Celebrations and baking
We understand you may want to celebrate certain events such as birthdays, bonfires, firework displays or sparklers. Please ensure oxygen equipment has not been used for at least 20 minutes before getting close to fire/flames/candles.
When baking, please ensure the oxygen equipment is at least 3 metres away from the cooker at all times.
Do not go near gas cookers that are in use when using oxygen.
Bathing and showering
Please do not use any bath oils or bubble baths that contain oil within their ingredients. When using a portable cylinder, leave the portable cylinder outside the bath or shower. Oxygen machines should remain where the Healthcare Technician originally installed them. Do not move them into the bath or shower room.
Nasal prongs can be worn in the bath or shower. After bathing or showering, please inspect the nasal prongs; if water is inside, the nasal prongs must be thrown away and replaced with a new one.
Please speak to your Healthcare Professional if you would like to go swimming. If this is agreed upon, please phone our Healthcare Helpline on 0800 373 580, and we will arrange for extra tubing and nasal prongs. It would be a good idea to let swimming pool staff know before you visit as someone will need to carry the cylinder at the side of the pool.
After swimming, please inspect the nasal prongs; if water is inside, the nasal prongs must be thrown away and replaced with a new one.
Fire and Rescue service
Safe and Well Visits
When you’ve had your home oxygen therapy installed, we will pass your details on to the Fire Service in your area. The Fire Service will then be in touch with you to arrange a free Safe and Well Visit on your premises. This involves a member of the Fire Service coming to see you in your home, risk-assessing the property, and may include the installation of smoke alarms and other fire prevention measures.
Fire and Rescue Service websites:
To find the contact details for your local Fire and Rescue Service, you can visit their main website here www.fireservice.co.uk, or go to one of the regional websites listed below:
West Yorkshire: http://www.westyorksfire.gov.uk
North Yorkshire: https://www.northyorksfire.gov.uk
South Yorkshire: http://www.syfire.gov.uk
West Midlands: http://www.wmfs.net
Hereford & Worcester: http://www.hwfire.org.uk
Mid and West Wales: http://www.mawwfire.gov.uk/Pages/Welcome.aspx
North Wales: http://www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk
South Wales: https://www.southwales-fire.gov.uk/
Lancashire Fire and Rescue: https://www.lancsfirerescue.org.uk
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service: https://www.cumbriafire.gov.uk/
MFRS Headquarters (Merseyside): https://www.merseyfire.gov.uk
Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service: https://www.cheshirefire.gov.uk
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service: https://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk
E-bikes and E-scooters
E-bikes and e-scooters are becoming increasingly popular modes of transport. Most are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which can be charged in the home. On occasions, batteries can fail; they can lead to a rapidly developing fire and/or can ‘explode’. Also, incorrect disposal of lithium-ion batteries in general household and recycling waste can lead to significant waste fires.
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in reported fires at homes related to the charging and storage of e-bikes and e-scooters and, more so, e-bike conversion kits. You may have seen the higher profile one in the news; on 21st June 2022, in West London, 1 mile from the Grenfell Tower, 60 firefighters attended a large fire caused by a faulty e-bike battery.
You can take steps to reduce the risk of fires with e-bikes and e-scooters. Below is advice taken from the national fire chiefs council on how to keep yourself and your family safe.
- Buy e-bikes, e-scooters and chargers and batteries from reputable retailers.
- Many fires involve counterfeit electrical goods. Items which don’t meet British or European standards pose a considerable fire risk. Look for battery standards such as ICE 62133, EN 50604-1 or standards such as EN 15194 for e-bikes.
- If buying an e-bike conversion kit, purchase from a reputable seller and check that it complies with British or European standards. Take particular care if buying from online auctions or fulfilment platforms. Also, be aware that if buying separate components, you should check that they are compatible.
- Register your product with the manufacturer to validate any warranties – batteries are usually included in warranties. Registering makes it easier for manufacturers to contact you during a product safety message or recall.
- Check any products you have bought are not subject to a product recall on Electrical Safety Firsts or the government website.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when charging, and always unplug your charger when it’s finished charging.
- Charge batteries whilst awake and alert so you can respond quickly if a fire should occur. Don’t leave batteries to charge while asleep or away from home.
- Always use the manufacturer-approved charger for the product, and if you spot any signs of damage, buy an official replacement charger for your product from a reputable seller.
- Always maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from your oxygen when using or charging an e-bike or e-scooter.
- Do not cover chargers or battery packs when charging, as this could lead to overheating or a fire.
- Do not overload socket outlets.
- Avoid storing or charging e-bikes and e-scooters on escape routes or in communal areas of a multi-occupied building.
- Store e-bikes and e-scooters and their batteries in a cool place. Avoid storing them in excessively hot or cold areas.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the storage and maintenance of lithium-ion batteries if they are not used for extended periods.
Damage and disposal
- Batteries can be damaged by dropping them or crashing e-bikes or e-scooters. Where the battery is damaged, it can overheat and catch fire without warning. Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage, and if you suspect it is damaged, it should be replaced and not be used or charged.
- If you need to dispose of a damaged or end-of-life battery, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or regular recycling. When punctured or crushed, these batteries can cause fires in bin lorries, recycling and waste centres.
All equipment provided by Baywater Healthcare that uses lithium-ion batteries complies with British and European safety regulations and is safe to use.