Many people who have certain medical conditions use either an oxygen concentrator or compressed oxygen to help them breath. Although oxygen can be stored safely in a house, there are some precautions you should take when storing or transporting it.
Oxygen Storage Precautions
Oxygen is a non-explosive gas, but it can easily accelerate a fire because oxygen makes a fire burn faster and at a higher temperature. Fortunately, proper storage can reduce the risks associated with oxygen. The following precautions should be taken when storing oxygen:
- Store oxygen at least three metres from open flames or heat sources.
- Store oxygen cylinders in an enclosed space with enough room to store empty and full ones separately.
- Store cylinders in an upright position and do not cover them with plastic or cloth.
- Store oxygen in a well-ventilated space.
Travelling with Oxygen
When you drive with an oxygen bottle in your car, you should try to strap it down or use the seatbelts in the car to keep it from bouncing around. Strapping it down should also help protect the valve and flow knob on the cylinder. Oxygen cylinders can become a dangerous projectile if they are not secured in a vehicle.
If you’re going on holiday, you will need to take enough oxygen cylinders with you to last through the holiday, unless there is a way to refill them where you’re going. Otherwise, you should consider purchasing a portable oxygen contractor as it extracts oxygen from the air. With a concentrator, you don’t have to worry about refilling oxygen bottles.
Flying and Oxygen Use
If you need to fly to where you’re going on holiday, you will not be able to take oxygen cylinders with you on an airplane. However, some airlines do have medical oxygen cylinders on board for people with medical conditions. Some airlines also allow you to take portable oxygen concentrators, so contact the airline you’re travelling with to check their policies regarding oxygen use and oxygen concentrators.
Try to make arrangements wherever you’re going to have oxygen cylinders delivered if you need them. Even though you may use an oxygen concentrator if you need oxygen 24 hours a day, you should have at least one cylinder for backup in case the concentrator stops working.
Precautions When Using Oxygen
The following precautions should be taken when using oxygen:
- Handle oxygen equipment carefully to avoid damaging it.
- Post a No Smoking sign on your door at home.
- Do not smoke or allow smoking when there is oxygen stored in your home.
- Try not to use any flammable products near oxygen when it’s in use. Flammable items include aerosol cans, petrol, cleaning fluid, or sprays.
- While you’re using oxygen, avoid using appliances such as razors or hair sprays. Any spark could cause a fire.
- Do not allow alcohol-based solutions to come into contact with oxygen equipment. This includes cleaning solutions, petroleum jelly, oil, and grease.
- Regularly clean your oxygen equipment so it is dust free.
Follow these precautions carefully to safely store and use oxygen in your home and while you travel.