Home Oxygen Safety Tips

Home oxygen safety tips from San Diego HospiceFor people using home medical oxygen and their caregivers, practicing oxygen safety is necessary to prevent injury. Although oxygen is a non flammable gas, learning how to properly store and use your home oxygen system is vitally important because oxygen can vigorously accelerate burning of flammable materials. To help keep you safe, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of home oxygen safety tips. Of course, if you ever have any questions or concerns about the use of your home oxygen system, you should always contact your oxygen supplier directly.

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Safety Tips for your Home Oxygen System

• No smoking must always be the rule. Keep cigarettes or any other burning tobacco away from the area when home oxygen equipment is used. Do not strike matches or lighters while using oxygen equipment

• Keep the oxygen equipment at least 5 feet away from any electrical appliances and cords

• Avoid using any electrical equipment that is not in good repair; do not use electric razors or hair dryers while oxygen is in use

• Keep the equipment away from open flames (i.e. candles) or any heating sources such as stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, strong direct sunlight

• Keep flammable materials such as oil and grease away from the equipment, including oily hands or gloves; do not use petroleum-based gels (i.e. Vaseline) on face or hands while using oxygen

• Do not use aerosol sprays near the oxygen equipment

• Do not store oxygen containers in closed vehicles or car trunks

• When traveling with oxygen keep windows slightly open for proper ventilation (especially when using oxygen)

• Liquid home oxygen systems must be kept in well-ventilated areas at all times and always keep containers in an upright position (if container is accidentally tipped over, be prepared to provide additional ventilation if the container vents its contents)

• Never touch liquid oxygen unit pipes or other metal parts with bare hands as the temperature of the liquid oxygen can cause frostbite

• Never allow oxygen tubing, cannula or mask under clothing, bed sheets, blankets, comforters, carpet etc. while oxygen is running; could cause a dangerous buildup of oxygen concentration and also allow the patient to forget that the oxygen is running

• Keep all oxygen warning signs within view at all times, and especially in the room where the equipment is being used

• Do not kink or bend oxygen tubing; do not set anything on the tubing (may obstruct oxygen flow)

• Do not perform any maintenance on the home oxygen tank, regulator, flow meter, stand or oxygen concentrator cabinet – Oxygen Supplier has maintenance schedule for same and may be contacted for questions on these parts of equipment

• Do not pour or spill liquids on home oxygen equipment or concentrator

• Have a backup home oxygen system (portable oxygen tank) if concentrator, liquid oxygen or gaseous oxygen cylinders become disabled

• Prevent possible electrical overload by not using an extension cord with concentrator or plugging into an outlet that has other appliances plugged into it

• Secure home oxygen cylinders in a proper stand

• And again, make sure to have your home oxygen supplier’s contact telephone number accessible and easily visible for you or others in your household.

Written by mdelacalzada

Communications Executive, Social Media Aficionado, Caregiver Advocate. Currently serves as the Executive Director of Communications and Public Relations at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine, a non-profit community-owned healthcare organization since 1977.


8 Comments on "Home Oxygen Safety Tips"

  1. Justin says:

    A lot of those tips make a lot of sense. When I was younger, my friend’s grandma used to smoke right next to her oxygen tank! I could not believe it. My friend used to joke that being at his house always risked death from explosion. Recently, his grandma got Portable Oxygen Concentrators , while you still should not smoke around them, it seems to have eased the fear of sudden explosions.

  2. Thanks Justin. I had the same experience myself! As more and more people come across others who use oxygen, it’s helpful to know these tips for the safety of the user as well as for those around the user.

  3. Al M says:

    My mother uses a Portable Oxygen Concentrator.

    How concerned should I be about having it close to a heating vent?

    The heating vent is from the furnace downstairs.

  4. Regarding Al M’s question:

    Thanks for your question. Please check with the company that provided your Mother’s Portable Oxygen Concentrator, to best address your concerns as it pertains to the unit your Mother is using.

    In general for safety purposes, oxygen concentrators should be at least three 3-6 inches away from walls, furniture and especially curtains or draperies that can impede or block adequate airflow to the oxygen concentrator. Also, keep the oxygen concentrator at least five (5) feet away from hot, sparking objects or open sources of flame. In addition, it is not recommened to put the unit near any heat source or heat register, as it can cause the concentrator to get warm.

    I hope this information is helpful to you.

  5. Duane Sutfin says:

    you say “secure home oxygen cylinders in a proper stand”
    What is a proper stand, and where can I purchase one for M cylinders?

  6. Hi Duane,
    In general, oxygen cylinders should be “secured” so that are not rolling around and to avoid damage to cylinder parts, For example, it is suggested not to stand oxygen cylinders upright unless they are well secured – if the cylinder falls, the regulator or valve could become damaged or cause injury. Stands for M cylinders can be purchased from medical supply stores. Check with the manufacturer or supplier of your oxygen cylinders for the appropriate stands and accessories.

  7. Buffy Sommers says:

    Does anyone have any tips for keeping tubing from getting caught on things? My mother refuses to ask for help gathering it up before using the chair lift anfpd when it does get stuck on things she just yanks it.
    I have stuck shims under evey eneven floor trim joint and door jam, but it still gets stuck on things.
    Biggest challenge is keeping it from sliding up and down the stairs while she is upstairs. Is there a product or clip of some kind? I have searched the Internet for tips but after 45 minutes of reading the same things over and over I still have not found anything useful. I guess if a patient is this stubborn and rips the tubing every other day they get put in a nursing home…

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