Oxygen makes things burn much faster. Think of what happens when you blow into a fire; it makes the flame bigger. If you are using oxygen in your home, you must take extra care to stay safe from fires and objects that might burn.
COPD - oxygen safety; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease - oxygen safety; Chronic obstructive airways disease - oxygen safety; Emphysema - oxygen safety; Heart failure - oxygen-safety; Palliative care - oxygen safety; Hospice - oxygen safety
Have Your Home Ready
Make sure you have working smoke detectors and a working fire extinguisher in your home. If you move around the house with your oxygen, you may need more than one fire extinguisher in different locations.
Smoking can be very dangerous.
- No one should smoke in a room where you or your child is using oxygen.
- Put a "NO SMOKING" sign in every room where oxygen is used.
- In a restaurant, keep at least 6 feet (2 meters) away from any source of fire, such as a stove, fireplace, or tabletop candle.
Keep oxygen 6 feet (2 meters) away from:
- Toys with electric motors
- Electric baseboard or space heaters
- Wood stoves, fireplaces, candles
- Electric blankets
- Hairdryers, electric razors, and electric toothbrushes
Be Careful in the Kitchen
Be careful with your oxygen when you cook.
- Keep oxygen away from the stovetop and oven.
- Watch out for splattering grease. It can catch fire.
- Keep children with oxygen away from the stovetop and oven.
- Cooking with a microwave is OK.
Other Safety Tips
DO NOT store your oxygen in a trunk, box, or small closet. Storing your oxygen under the bed is OK if air can move freely under the bed.
Keep liquids that may catch fire away from your oxygen. This includes cleaning products that contain oil, grease, alcohol, or other liquids that can burn.
DO NOT use Vaseline or other petroleum-based creams and lotions on your face or upper part of your body unless you talk to your respiratory therapist or health care provider first. Products that are safe include:
- Aloe vera
- Water-based products, such as K-Y Jelly
Avoid tripping over oxygen tubing.
- Try taping the tubing to the back of your shirt.
- Teach children not to get tangled in the tubing.
American Lung Association. Oxygen Therapy. www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-procedures-and-tests/oxygen-therapy/. Updated Match 24, 2020. Accessed May 23, 2020.
American Thoracic Society website. Oxygen therapy. www.thoracic.org/patients/patient-resources/resources/oxygen-therapy.pdf. Updated April 2016. Accessed January 28, 2020.
National Fire Protection Association website. Medical oxygen safety. www.nfpa.org/-/media/Files/Public-Education/Resources/Safety-tip-sheets/OxygenSafety.ashx. Updated July 2016. Accessed January 28, 2020.
Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 05/23/20.