SFMO raises awareness of risks for smokers using medical oxygen

NASHVILLE – To help prevent fire deaths that could be caused by smokers using medical oxygen, the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance and the Office of the State Fire Marshal of Tennessee urge Tennesseans to remember that there is no sure way smoking using medical oxygen.

Residents of Tennessee who suffer from respiratory illnesses use cans of medical oxygen to help them breathe. Although oxygen is not flammable, a fire needs oxygen to develop and spread. Consumers using medical oxygen at home are at increased risk of home fires when they smoke or have an open flame in their home due to the presence of medical oxygen increases the concentration of oxygen in the air thus increases the risk of domestic fires.

In recent years, the Tennessee Fire Department has reported an increase in the frequency of fire deaths related to medical oxygen. So far in 2021, at least nine fatal medical oxygen fires have been reported out of the 72 total fatal fires reported in Tennessee.

“Smoking using medical oxygen is a dangerous and risky behavior that endangers the life of the smoker, their family members and any firefighters who may be called upon to carry out a rescue,” the deputy commissioner said. TDCI Fire Prevention, Gary Farley. “As the cold weather approaches and people spend more time indoors, I urge consumers using medical oxygen to renew their commitment to take fire safety precautions now to prevent fires. and burns. “

The SFMO encourages residents of Tennessee to remember the following tips to avoid the fire hazards associated with the presence of medical oxygen:

  • There is no safe way to smoke in a home when medical oxygen is used. A person using medical oxygen should never smoke.
  • Candles, matches, wood stoves, and even children’s spark toys can be sources of ignition and should never be used in a home where medical oxygen is present.
  • Keep oxygen cartridges at least five feet away from heat sources, open flames, or electrical devices.
  • Objects containing oil or grease can easily catch fire. Keep oil and grease away from areas where medical oxygen is used.
  • Never use aerosol sprays, especially those that indicate flammable contents, near oxygen.
  • Post “No Smoking” and “No Open Flames” signs inside and outside the home to remind people that medical oxygen is present.
  • Make sure smoke detectors are working by testing them monthly. Replace all units that are over 10 years old. Need functional smoke detectors? Contact your local fire department and ask if they participate in SFMO “Alarm, Tennessee! “ program.
  • Create a home fire escape plan with two exits for each room and a designated meeting place outside. Practice the plan with each member of the household.

For more information on fire safety, visit tn.gov/fire.

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