Oxygen Safety – What You Need to Know

Oxygen provides tremendous benefits for you as a COPD patient, but oxygen tanks can also be dangerous. Keep these safety considerations in mind:

Prepare for emergencies: If you use a stationary concentrator, tell your power company that you use oxygen, and always keep a back-up tank on hand in case the power goes out.

Oxygen is not flammable, but makes flammable substances burn more vigorously.  To prevent accidents, don’t smoke while you use oxygen. Of course, it’s better for you if you quit smoking altogether, but if you are still a smoker, then do not smoke near any oxygen supply.

Don’t use oxygen near the stove or fireplace, and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

When you’re going to go on the road with an oxygen cylinder, be aware that they’re safe when handled carefully but, because they are under high pressure, they can explode in some circumstances.  All cylinders have a pressure release device, which is designed to release the oxygen if the pressure rises above a safe level, but if the cylinders are crushed or heated or subjected to fire in a traffic accident, they can explode.

If you’re taking oxygen cylinders with you in the car, take only what you need, and keep the cylinder secured so it doesn’t bounce around or get knocked against something. In warm weather, if you have to leave your cylinder in your car, open the windows so it won’t overheat. Don’t smoke in the car and, if you must carry multiple oxygen cylinders in your car, be sure that they are all secured.