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by the NFCC

Control measure

Oxygen awareness

Control measure knowledge

When medical oxygen or oxygen cutting equipment is in use, the atmosphere should be monitored and the use of ventilation considered, to reduce the hazards of a flammable atmosphere or combustion. The use of tools, equipment or defibrillators in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere should be risk assessed.

If there are sources of oxygen in the hazard area, all emergency responders should be made aware of its presence and use.

Medical oxygen should be protected using appropriate packaging that is suitable for the environment it is being used in. Medical gloves should be worn when handling oxygen equipment to prevent it from being contaminated with grease or oil, thereby reducing the risk of ignition.

If an oxygen cylinder is damaged, resulting in a large or uncontrolled leak, it should be immediately managed and removed from the hazard area if possible.

Protection of the casualty against the risk of ignition should be considered; this could include ventilation of the hazard area or the use of fire-resistant blankets

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure that medical oxygen is protected by appropriate packaging

  • Consider providing fire-resistant blankets for the protection of casualties

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Identify and communicate the presence of any oxygen equipment to emergency responders
  • Consider monitoring an oxygen-enriched atmosphere and ventilate if necessary

  • Protect oxygen equipment from grease and oil, and ensure medical gloves are worn when handling it

  • Carry out a risk assessment if tools, equipment or defibrillators are being used in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere

  • Consider protecting the casualty from the risk of ignition in an oxygen-enriched atmosphere