Using home oxygen therapy is typically safe, but it does bring some safety hazards. Your medical provider may prescribe home oxygen therapy if you are needing more oxygen than your body takes in. While the oxygen is not flammable it can make flammable materials ignite faster.

Listed below are safety tips from the National Council on Aging for using supplemental oxygen1:

  • Smoking should NEVER be near an oxygen container. There is no safe way to smoke in a home where medical oxygen is being used.
  • Stay at least 15 feet away from an open flame. This includes candles, outdoor fire pits, cigarettes, cigars, etc.
  • Keep medical oxygen away from anything with an electric motor, such as space heaters, handheld tools, electric baseboard, hairdryers and electric blankets. Although it is not common, a spark from the motor could ignite the oxygen.
  • Never use aerosol sprays containing combustible materials near the oxygen.
  • Do not use petroleum or oil-based lotions or lip care, as these can react violently with an oxygen-fueled fire.
  • Ensure the home has working smoke detectors. Plan and practice a fire escape plan.
  • Never use or store oxygen in a confined space like a closet.

Being aware of the hazards of an open flame is important, but equally important is knowing how to store the oxygen units in your home.

Storing Oxygen in Your Home

  • Don’t block the concentrator’s vents.
  • Organize oxygen tubing to avoid tripping hazards.
  • Regularly check the system for alarms/notifications.
  • Always turn off your oxygen when you’re not using it.
  • Keep oxygen concentrators several inches away from curtains or walls.
  • Don’t set your cannula or mask on a chair or bed if the oxygen is turned on.
  • Never place anything on your oxygen concentrator, such as clothes or books.
  • Keep oxygen cylinders upright at all times.
  • Use cylinder stands to help reduce tip-over risks.
  • Don’t plug your oxygen concentrator into an extension cord, and don’t plug anything else into the same outlet.
  • Store oxygen in well-ventilated areas and never in enclosed spaces like car trunks or closets.

Practicing good oxygen safety will reduce the risks of fires, tripping hazards and other dangers. Be sure to let visitors know that you are using supplemental oxygen and to educate them on oxygen safety before they enter your home.  Additionally, post Durable Medical Equipment (DME) / Emergency numbers near telephones and register your home with your local utility company, advising them that you have oxygen equipment in your home, to establish priority service in case of power outage.2

If you have questions about your supplemental oxygen, call St. John’s Hospice at 210-718-0551 and ask to speak to one of our compassionate care team members.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]



2 SANHHA HH Patient Education Guidebook, pg. 43, Oxygen Safety.

St. John's Hospice

St. John’s Hospice, LLC

4414 Centerview Dr., Suite 208

San Antonio, TX. 78228

Call : 210-718-0551

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