5.1  Introduction

5.2  Administration of Oxygen

5.3  In Case of Fire

5.1       Introduction

Oxygen is an oxidizer.  This means that oxygen will support combustion, even though by itself, it is non-flammable.


5.2       Administration of Oxygen

To minimize the threat of fire when a patient receives oxygen, use the following precautions.

·         Remove materials used for smoking from the area (e.g., matches, cigarettes, lighters, lighter fluids, and tobacco).  No source of open flame is permitted in the area.

·         Post precautionary signs, readable from a distance of five feet, at the site of administration AND in aisles and walkways leading to the area.  These signs should be approximately 8” x 11” in size.

·         Use only non-flammable lubricants for beds and motors.

·         Keep flammable liquids, oils, lotions and gases at least five feet from oxygen equipment.

·         Do not administer flammable or combustible aerosols (hydrocarbons) or vapors such as alcohol in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere.

·         Do not lubricate oxygen equipment with oil, grease or other flammable contaminants.


5.3       In Case of Fire

Exercise the RACE concept, if someone else is around, have them set off the fire alarm at the same time you respond.  If you are the only one in the area, sound the alarm first, before you yourself respond, to get emergency responders on their way.

Oxygen fed fires are difficult to extinguish and usually require the shut off of oxygen. 

·         Remove the patient(s) from the site of the fire.  OR  If a non-ambulatory patient is connected to a burning piece of life support equipment, it may be more practical to extinguish the fire than to remove the patient.

 ·         If the patient is in immediate danger from flames, attempt to extinguish them.

 ·         Under the authority of the charge nurse, Close off the patient’s oxygen supply IF this can be accomplished without injury to personnel/patient.

 ·         Call the Fire Department at ext. 21211.

 ·         Carry out the steps specified in the UTMB Internal Disaster Plan.