In an effort to reduce the number of deaths and injuries from fires started in homes with oxygen machines, the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office, in coordination with fire departments across the state, is providing safety devices, at no cost, to anyone using a home oxygen machine.
The device is called a thermal fuse, or Firesafe valve, which is fitted on the oxygen line in two locations: one near the user and the other near the machine. In the event of a fire, the fuse breaks, triggering a simple mechanism that stops the oxygen flow and prevents adding fuel the fire.
“This device is something everyone using home oxygen should have,” said Teton County Fire Marshal Kathy Clay. “Anytime added oxygen is in a home, the risk for fire and the rapid spread of fire increases tremendously. This device can reduce property loss, injury, and death when used properly.”
In the United States, it is estimated that between 100 and 150 home oxygen users die every year from fires involving oxygen, while 1,200 more individuals are treated in hospitals for burns. One-third of these fires include a cylinder explosion, which poses a serious risk to family members, neighbors, and first responders.
“When oxygen is near a stove top, a wood-fire burner, a cigarette, a candle, or any other type of ignitor, a fire can easily start and spread quickly,” said Clay. “Prevention is the best tool in firefighting, and in the case of home oxygen machines, that tool is a thermal fuse.”
Individuals needing a thermal fuse device for their home oxygen machine can request one by filling out a form on the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s website at https://wsfm.wyo.gov/. Teton County residents can also call Jackson Hole Fire/EMS Fire Prevention at 307-732-8506. Clay said that in either case, she or a member of the Fire Prevention team would install the device.
The Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office is using the hashtag #haveafireafeholiday to promote fire safety during the holiday season. To learn more about thermal fuses and other holiday fire prevention tips, visit the Wyoming State Fire Marshal’s Office Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WyomingStateFireMarshalsOffice/, or visit their website.