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City of Colorado Springs / Fire / News

Hazards of Smoking and Home Oxygen Use
Wednesday, December 04, 2013


Smoking when home oxygen is in use is a deadly combination.

Normal air contains almost 21% oxygen. However, medical oxygen is 100% oxygen, and when used indoors it increases the oxygen levels of normal air. As a result, many items which would not normally burn in normal air will ignite more easily. Oxygen lowers the temperature at which everyday household objects will start to burn, including furniture, bedding, clothes and human hair.   

Here are some tips to stay safe when using home oxygen:

  • NEVER smoke while you or someone in the home is using home oxygen.
  • Keep home oxygen and tubing 10 feet away from heat sources.
  • If you or someone in the home is on home oxygen and must smoke, disconnect the oxygen, wait at least 10 minutes and smoke outdoors away from any oxygen-enriched environment.
  • Do not use flammable products such as oils, grease, petroleum products or oil-based lip balms or lotions.
  • Make sure you have working smoke alarms.
  • Practice a home escape plan.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department is committed to provide education on the safe and proper use of oxygen in the home and to bring awareness to the extreme dangers of using oxygen near an open flame or heat source.