Oxygen Increases Fire Risk

Oxygen is not a flammable gas, however, it is an accelerator.

What does that mean?

With more oxygen in an area, the risk of a fire becoming large quickly increases. Our atmosphere is comprised of approximately 21% oxygen. Fire safety standards are tested with this same amount of oxygen to factor in the quickness clothing, furniture, or decor will catch fire and burn. For those with oxygen in their homes, this risk is increased due to the added oxygen present through liquid and gas tanks.

Many smokers are diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Much of the treatment for COPD revolves around oxygen support. People with COPD can remain on oxygen for many years which requires them to maintain an oxygen supply in their homes. For those with COPD, quitting smoking is necessary to reduce the risk of fire in the home.

In some areas, smokers can be denied oxygen if they do not quit.

Nova Scota 2004. In May, Nova Scotia’s Health Department said it would no longer provide an asthma sufferer $240 a month to rent a concentrator and equipment for back up oxygen. The reason: A homecare worker caught him smoking, which is against the rules.

After being caught smoking, Vernon Hughes, 59, a former three-pack a day smoker who can’t afford to pay for his own equipment, promised the Nova Scotia’s Health Department that he wouldn’t smoke anymore. The department didn’t budge, saying there is no guarantee he’ll live up to that promise. The no smoking rule is in place as a safety measure and explained fully to beneficiaries.

Be mindful of oxygen in use and stub out your cigarette.

It is advised that you keep all sparks and flames a minimum of five feet from oxygen. This includes people who use oxygen as part of a treatment for COPD or any other disease. Smokers should not light up in a vehicle or home where oxygen is stored or used. A small spark could quickly take a life.

When oxygen is in use, stay clear. If you know anyone who requires oxygen support, encourage them to quit smoking or find a viable alternative that will eliminate any sparks or flame.

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