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Airflow mattress and medical oxygen

Airflow mattresses

An airflow mattress is for bedbound people and those with little ability to move by themselves in bed. They work to relieve and stop pressure sores and ulcers.

The mattress is full of pumped air. If punctured by a heat source, the escaping air flow can cause a fire to spread rapidly.

Fire safety precautions when using an airflow mattress:

  • never smoke, or let someone you care for smoke, in or near to a bed
  • never use an electric blanket
  • ensure you maintain any electrical equipment and keep them away
  • never charge electrical items or place hot items next to airflow mattresses, such as hair straighteners or hair dryers
  • ensure you fully unravel extension reels/leads to avoid overheating
  • keep away from candles, incense sticks or oil burners
  • keep away from fires and heaters

Medical oxygen

An oxygen rich environment increases the opportunity for a fire to start and grow more rapidly.

Any source of ignition near oxygen is extremely dangerous and increases the risk of significant injury in the event of a fire.

You may be prescribed oxygen therapy using specialist equipment such as cylinders or portable units that pipe medical oxygen directly to you.

Fire safety precautions when oxygen therapy is in use:

  • never smoke or allow someone else to smoke nearby. This includes e-cigarettes and their chargers
  • do not use matches or any naked flame such as candles, incense sticks or oil burners where oxygen equipment is in use
  • do not use flammable emollient products. Your healthcare provider can suggest an alternative
  • ensure you turn off the oxygen when not in use
  • ensure you fully unravel extension reels/leads to avoid overheating
  • keep your device at least three metres away from open flames such as gas fires and cookers and open fires
  • keep your device at least 1.5 metres away from electrical appliances such as electrical heaters, TVs, and hair dryers

Don’t forget to:

  • ensure that your smoke alarms are working properly, and install additional detectors, if necessary, i.e., the bedroom where oxygen is in use
  • tell you local fire brigade that you have oxygen at home

For more information on medical oxygen, visit the London Fire Brigade website and the NHS home oxygen treatment page