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Administering oxygen can help patients by increasing the percentage of oxygen inside the body. This is particularly useful for patients who may be suffering from shock or even those who are having a heart attack.

If oxygen is administered during CPR it increases the chance of the patient’s survival.

When using Oxygen you should always remember that it is one side of the Fire Triangle, this means that there is an inherent risk when using Oxygen. This can be reduced by ensuring that the equipment is well maintained and monitored, storage is also very important.

When carrying oxygen in a vehicle, you should have a sign displaying the fact, so that should you be involved in an accident, the fire service are aware that there is Oxygen on board.

Oxygen tanks normally have a carry handle, they shouldn’t be stored upright, as they may fall over and get damaged.

The regulator controls the flow of oxygen and the unit will also has a gauge that tells you how much oxygen is left in the tank.

When you need to use the tank, the valve to allow the oxygen to flow should be opened carefully you should not force it open fully. The flow rate can be adjusted, and the tank is attached to the mask via a pipe that pushes onto the tank.

Non-rebreather masks can be used if the patient is breathing, whether they are conscious or unconscious. Within the bag of the mask is pure oxygen, as the patient breathes in they will be getting nearly 100% oxygen.

This type of mask can be quite scary explain to the patient what they are breathing and keep them calm, the mask needs to remain in place to be effective, tell them to breathe normally.

There are some contraindications to using oxygen. In most first aid related cases it is very effective treatment, but you need to make sure that there are no reasons why the patient should not be given 100% oxygen. One example where it should not be used would be if  a patient is suffering from COPD  in this instance pure oxygen can cause harm.

When the EMS arrives and the Oxygen is no longer required, it should be packed up carefully. The mask should be disposed of. The tank should be turned off and stored safely or sent to be refilled if necessary.