Oxygen Safety

Woman laying in Bed with Oxygen Tak-Safety

Always use oxygen carefully. Oxygen is a safe gas when used properly. Although it does not burn,
it does support combustion. Follow these safety precautions when using oxygen from any source
(examples are oxygen tank, oxygen concentrator, portable oxygen, etc.)

  • Notify the fire department and the electric company that you are using oxygen (place
    “Oxygen in Use” signs in visible areas).
  • Never place the tank or machine near an open flame (e.g., matches, lit candles, a stove in
    use). It should be kept at least six feet away.
  • Always turn your oxygen off when not in use.
  • Always check the oxygen levels on your oxygen tank. This includes the backup tank as well
    as the tank that is in use.
  • The oxygen backup tank should be stored lying flat (or upright and secured) and in a safe,
    well-ventilated place.
  • Check the oxygen tubing for cracks and leaks. Clean the nasal prongs to keep them open.
    Check the prongs daily.
  • Never smoke when the oxygen source is in your residence. Do not allow anyone else
    to smoke. Always have a “No Smoking” sign posted in a visible spot.
  • Do not use your oxygen within six feet of electrical appliances, especially stoves,
    heaters, toasters or hair dryers.
  • Do not use your oxygen in an area where combustible materials, such as oils, greases,
    aerosol sprays, lotions or solvents, are present.
  • Do not use petroleum-based products while oxygen is in use. Avoid the use of products
    that contain alcohol (e.g., skin products).
  • Get into the habit of checking the batteries of your smoke detector every month
    and change batteries as needed.
  • Call the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) company for service or any questions you
    might have.
  • Have fire extinguishers on hand.

Oxygen Concentrator

Here are some reminders for using your oxygen concentrator. The guidelines for using oxygen safely
should be included as part of your review of these reminders.

  • Do not use an extension cord with the concentrator. The concentrator should be plugged into
    a grounded electrical outlet.
  • Do not plug it into an outlet used by other appliances.
  • Never place anything on top of the concentrator such as drinks, plants, or books.
  • Never place the concentrator against the wall, curtains or furniture, or in a closet. Room air
    must freely flow into the unit.
  • Check the alarm unit on a regular basis. This can be done by pulling the plug and listening for
    the alarm tone.
  • The filter for the oxygen concentrator should be inspected regularly. Report any concerns to
    the vendor that is listed on the concentrator unit.

Oxygen Tank

Certain safety rules apply WHENEVER you use oxygen from a tank. Please review the general
guidelines for using oxygen safely in addition to following these reminders:

  • Check the gauge to confirm the correct flow of oxygen. Check the amount of oxygen available
    if you are using oxygen from a tank.
  • Turn the gauge to begin the flow of the oxygen and adjust the flow.

Portable Oxygen

There are different types of portable oxygen units. You may be using a tank or a portable compressed
oxygen unit. Certain safety rules apply regardless of which type of oxygen you are using.

  • Check the gauge to confirm the correct flow of oxygen. Check the amount of oxygen available
    if you are using oxygen from a tank.
  • Turn the gauge to begin the flow of the oxygen and adjust the flow.
  • When traveling by car, do not allow anyone to smoke in the car. Keep the window slightly open.
  • Place your oxygen unit on the floor next to you or on the seat next to you. It is a good idea to
    secure the oxygen unit with a seat belt whenever possible.
  • Never leave portable oxygen in a car parked in the hot sun.
  • If you are planning to travel by bus, train, air or boat, you should call the transportation provider
    ahead of time to find out if there are any restrictions on traveling with oxygen.
  • Notify your health care provider before going on anything other than a short trip. You may also
    need to notify your oxygen supply company. You will need to ensure that you have enough
    oxygen and may need to arrange for additional oxygen at your destination.