Spokane Valley Fire Department (SVFD) recently received a FEMA Fire Prevention and Safety grant this fall to help save the lives of those citizens who smoke while on medical oxygen. SVFD noticed that an unusual percentage of citizens in our Fire District were dying from this fire safety risk as compared to the state average. In the last 7 years, SVFD has had 1 death per year due to smoking while on medical oxygen. For the entire state of Washington State there has been 14 deaths due to smoking while on medical oxygen. 50% of the deaths in Washington State are occurring in the Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire District! We saw a great need for a change and public education was not making a difference.
The grant dollars received will help purchase Thermal fuses or “Firebreak” devices that will be provided to individuals on in home (medical) oxygen to help reduce fire fatality and burn risks. The thermal fuse can isolate the oxygen flow and extinguish a fire tracking back along with the oxygen delivery tubing. These devices are installed directly in the oxygen delivery circuit and at the interface with the oxygen supply, delivery equipment.
“This grant will allow us the opportunity to support and enhance a more comprehensive Home Fire Safety program by incorporating additional elements and education into our established, successful program,” said Fire Marshal, Greg Rogers. “The installation of thermal fuses, firebreaks, and residential lockboxes will be added to our Home Fire Safety Visit program. This is essential to life safety. Late last year we had a fire and lost a life. A thermal fuse along the oxygen delivery tube could have helped stop that fire and potentially saved a life.”
The American Burn Association has added resources to their website regarding smoking while on home oxygen. Below is a link to the updated prevention resources page: