1. Keep away from any flame or spark such as gas stoves, fireplaces and candles. Even electric razors can cause sparks so do not use your oxygen whilst shaving. Oxygen isn’t flammable but it is combustible and can aid in the starting of a fire.
2. Do not allow any smoking anywhere near. Some people put signs up in their homes for visitors to let them know.
3. When cooking try not to wear loose fitting clothes and stay as far away from the heated surface as possible.
4. Avoid using any aerosol products as they can ignite in the presence of a spark.
5. Do not allow flammable liquids to get on your clothing or body as unless washed thoroughly, these could become a hazard.
6. Do not place your oxygen concentrator in an unventilated area, such as a closet. Not only does the concentrator generate a lot of heat but it uses the surrounding air to produce oxygen so the oxygen in the atmosphere will quickly become depleted in small spaces.
7. Secure all cylinders to prevent them from falling over. A falling oxygen cylinder can cause damage to the valve, releasing the pressure, which may cause it to become a dangerous projectile. 8. Call your electric company to inform them that you are using oxygen. Firstly some electric companies have a program that allows a reduction of your rates to help lower the cost of running the air concentrator. Secondly, they will generally put you first in line when restoring power after an outage. They may also be able to provide specialist adaptors or devices to aid you with your mobility and medical equipment to make life easier.
9. Oxygen hoses can be a tripping hazard so try to have your concentrator in a position for maximum mobility but also where the hose will not cause you or others to trip. Use a coloured hose to make it more visible.
10. Keep the hoses clean and replace on a regular basis. Make sure the filters are replaced regularly, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dust and clean tubing to prevent mould if you use water to humidify your oxygen.
Ensure you have an emergency plan arranged in case there is a power outage.
• Inform your power company that you are oxygen-dependent. Many companies offer oxygen-dependent patients priority service and will inform you of upcoming maintenance/outages and ensure your power is restored as a priority.
• Collaborate with your oxygen supply company. Ask them to help you determine exactly how much oxygen you will need in case of an emergency power outage. They may also provide you with an emergency cylinder.
• Contact your local police and fire departments to let them know that you are oxygen-dependent.
• Talk to your doctor about reducing your oxygen flow rate during an emergency. This may help buy you some time and extend the life of your oxygen supply.
• Consider installing your own emergency generator, especially if you live in a remote location.
• Organize a support team of family or friends whom you can call in case of an emergency.
References: http://blog.copdfoundation.org and http://copd.about.com and http://www.southern-electric.co.uk