What are Dynamic Air Flow Pressure Relieving Mattresses?

Dynamic Air Flow Pressure Relieving Mattresses (and overlays placed on top of standard mattresses) are provided for prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers (bedsores) to people who spend extended periods of time in bed, or are bedbound, due to illness and impaired mobility. The mattresses/overlays are often used in hospitals or in-patient settings but are also provided in the home environment including care homes. The mattresses/overlays are filled with air by a pump. These systems use dynamic, controlled air pressure cells to constantly adjust the mattress/overlay in response to the patient’s needs.

What are the common problems?

If a mattress was punctured due to a carelessly discarded cigarette for example, the air released would cause the fire to spread more quickly and intensely. If one of these mattresses is punctured and loses air, the pump reacts by working harder to replace the air and so more air is released, fuelling the fire even further. In addition the mattress pump contains a battery back-up so that if the electricity supply fails, the pump continues. Dynamic Air Flow Pressure Relieving Mattresses are provided for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers and are therefore, by nature, provided to people who spend extended periods of time in bed or are bedbound due to illness and impaired mobility. This means that if a fire starts or smoke detection activates, the individual using the bed is unlikely to be able to respond/escape without assistance. When the mattresses are provided in a home setting, living alone or being alone in the property is therefore a risk factor for consideration. When a mattress is provided in the home environment the assessment undertaken may not routinely include a specific section on fire safety. As a result, the differences in home and hospital environment may not always be considered when a patient is issued with a mattress in the home. For example, an individual will not be permitted to smoke in hospital but may choose to smoke in bed at home. A further difference is that household items which could start a fire such as candles or some electrical equipment would not usually be present in a hospital ward or room. Additionally, in the event of a fire occurring in a hospital environment, members of staff are usually present or are summoned by a fire alarm to deal with the fire and assist the patient

Fire safety Advice

  • Keep ignition sources away from the bed/mattress
  • Install a Smoke detector in the room where a bed is located, and on every other floor in the house.
  • Don’t smoke in bed/on mattress (If an individual is insistent on smoking they should smoke out of the vicinity of the bed/mattress and only when a capable person is with them to assist should they drop a cigarette or should a fire start)
  • Don’t burn candles in the room where the bed/mattress is kept
  • Don’t use matches or lighters in the vicinity of the bed/mattress
  • Don’t have electrical equipment in the vicinity of the bed/mattress e.g. TV over the bed • Don’t use electric blankets in combination with the bed/mattress
  • Don’t overload plug sockets
  • Ensure essential electrical items are maintained, and switched off and unplugged at the mains when not in use
  • Don’t have fires and heaters in the vicinity of the bed/mattress
  • Don’t place hot items, such as hairdryers or heated hairstyling appliances, on the bed/mattress
  • If you use a mobility aid, keep it within reach of your bed or device
  • If a fire should occur, if it is safe to do so, isolate the power supply by turning off the pump.
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