Brattleboro Fire Department – Be Careful With Home Oxygen

On Tuesday, December 3 at 8:45am the Brattleboro Fire Department and Rescue Inc responded to a West Brattleboro address for a subject that was burned. Upon arrival it was learned that the 55 year old patient was burned while vaping while he was on home oxygen. A flash fire occurred around the face area of the subject and he received burns to his mouth and nose area. He was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital by Rescue Inc for further evaluation and treatment.

This is the second such incident in as many months. On October 25 a subject received moderate burns to his face area when he lit a cigarette while on home oxygen.

The Brattleboro Fire Department wants to stress that any type of smoking or being directly around an open flame while on home oxygen therapy is a very unsafe practice, and this includes electronic cigarettes, or vaping. While normally a non-flammable gas, the enrichment of normal room air with oxygen increases the energy, heat release and severity of any fire. What can generally be a fairly nonflammable substance can, in the presence of a high oxygen atmosphere, burn intensely.

Oxygen can build up, not only in the home, but on the hair, clothes, and body of the patient and ignite when a heat source (like a cigarette) comes close to the face, causing severe burns.

You are encouraged to call the Brattleboro Fire Department at 254-4831 with questions about this or any other safety questions.

Contact: Michael Bucossi

Brattleboro Fire Chief

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