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Tennessee State Fire Marshal urges caution with home medical oxygen
Posted By News Staff On Sunday, September 30, 2012 @ 4:00 am In News | No Comments
Nashville, TN – The presence of portable, medical oxygen in the home has grown over the past decade, and so has the need for education about the fire hazards associated with its use. Medical oxygen adds a higher percentage of oxygen to the air a patient uses to breathe. Fire needs oxygen to burn. If a fire should start in an oxygen-enriched area, the material burning will burn more quickly.
“When more oxygen is present, any fire that starts will burn hotter and faster than usual,” Tennessee State Fire Marshal Julie Mix McPeak says. “It is crucial to follow safety precautions when medical oxygen is in use in a home.”According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), from 2003 to 2006, hospital emergency rooms in the United States received an average of 1,190 thermal burns per year caused by ignitions associated with home medical oxygen. In the past five years in Tennessee, there have been eight fire deaths where oxygen equipment was involved – the most recent occurring January in Dickson County.
Oxygen saturates fabric-covered furniture, clothing, hair and bedding, making it easier for a fire to start and spread. Smoking is the leading heat source resulting in medical oxygen-related fires, injuries and deaths. Homes where medical oxygen is used need specific fire safety rules to protect people from fire and burns.
For more information on how to keep your family safe from fire, make plans to attend the State Fire Marshal’s Office Fire Prevention Week Kick-off Event on Friday, October 5th, from 10:00am to 3:00pm on the plaza of the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, 600 James Robertson Parkway, Nashville.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office also has a downloadable fire-safety home checklist at http://tn.gov/commerce/sfm/fsk/documents/checklist.pdf. 
The State Fire Marshal’s Office (www.tn.gov/commerce/sfm/)  is a division of the Department of Commerce and Insurance (www.tn.gov/commerce/),  which works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/,  @TNCommerceInsur (Twitter), http://on.fb.me/uFQwUZ  (Facebook), http://bit.ly/ry1GyX  (YouTube)
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