Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people of the fire risks of having oxygen therapy systems in the home.
Oxygen therapy is used by people with severe respiratory conditions, to provide air that contains more oxygen than normal. Specialist equipment – which can include cylinders and portable units – is used to pipe medical oxygen to the patient through either a nasal cannula or face mask.
Firefighters were called to a home today (14 August) where a man suffered minor burns and smoke inhalation after the flame from a lighter ignited his oxygen supply.
Ian Hopkins, the Service's Prevention Delivery Manager, said: "The addition of concentrated oxygen into a room or surrounding environment will greatly increase the intensity of a fire should one start. Fortunately, on this occasion, the fire didn't take hold. We would urge anyone who uses oxygen at home, or who cares for someone in that position, to take extra precautions to prevent a fire from starting."
The following advice should always be followed:
* Make sure oxygen equipment is stored safely out of direct sunlight, well ventilated, always dry and away from heat sources.
* Never smoke – or allow the person being cared for to smoke – whilst using oxygen equipment. This includes e-cigarettes (vapes).
* Don't use matches or any naked flame such as candles, incense sticks or oil burners in the same room as oxygen equipment.
* Keep the oxygen supply well away from gas stoves, portable or open fires.
* Make sure oxygen is turned off when not in use.
* Contact your oxygen supplier for further guidance.
The Fire and Rescue Service offers free Safe & Well visits, where an advisor comes to the home at a convenient time to see what can be done to improve the safety of the household. Anyone with an oxygen therapy system at home will qualify – to make a request, call 0800 038 2323 or visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safe-and-well-visits
Further information for carers on how to identify fire risk in the home can be found at www.dwfire.org.uk/advice-for-carers