South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue
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Smoke alarms

Specialist equipment

In recent years we have seen several examples of specialist healthcare equipment being at the root of serious fires in South Yorkshire and beyond.

Whilst this equipment is necessary and important to enable people to live comfortably in their homes, it’s important to be mindful that this equipment can increase the spread and intensity of a fire.

Home oxygen therapy

Using home oxygen, also known as oxygen therapy, is where you use an oxygen cylinder to breathe in air that contains more oxygen than normal. This is used by people with certain respiratory conditions and, if done correctly, can be completely safe.

However, if used incorrectly, home oxygen can increase the intensity of a fire should one start, or lead to burns that, in the worst case scenario, could be fatal.

Here’s our top tips around using oxygen safely:

  • Never smoke, or allow the person you care for to smoke (or vape), whilst using home oxygen
  • Don’t use matches or candles in the same room as oxygen equipment
  • Be extra careful, around any kind of naked flame, whilst using oxygen equipment – keep away from paraffin heaters and gas stoves
  • Turn it off when you’re done – don’t allow the oxygen to be released into the room
  • Keep your cylinders upright and in good condition – don’t let them get damaged
  • Ensure you have working smoke alarms on every level of your home

Dynamic airflow pressure relieving mattresses

These mattresses are used for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores and ulcers that can be caused by extended periods of immobility. They are filled with an air pump and the pressure can be adjusted to suit the patient’s needs.

The risk here is that, on the off chance that they are punctured by a heat source, such as a cigarette, the rapid escape of oxygen can cause the fire to spread quickly.

Here’s our top safety tips for these products:

  • Don’t charge electrical items, such as phones or laptops, on a dynamic airflow mattress
  • Never smoke in bed, or allow someone that you care for or live with to smoke in bed
  • Keep your bed and dynamic airflow mattress away from fires and heaters

Incontinence products

These are used by people who have continence issues and, on their own, are not of any concern from a fire perspective. However, they are normally supplied in large quantities and the chemicals and padding that they are made up of can fuel a fire.

Our top tips related to incontinence products:

  • Don’t smoke near stores of incontinence products
  • Keep boxes of incontinence products away from heaters, candles, open fires and charging equipment
  • Don’t store the supplies all in one place – especially not next to the person’s bed or chair

Please note – we strongly advise that you do not attempt to cook whilst under the influence of alcohol and drugs, prescription or otherwise, that may make you feel drowsy and add to the risk of you falling asleep whilst food is on.

This content was last updated on February 04th, 2022