Fire Safety During a Medical or Surgical Procedure

Blog Post created by judycomoletti Employee on Sep 25, 2012

Surgical Fire
The National Fire Protection Association, FDA and 22 other organizations are celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative during Fire Prevention Week, October 7-13, 2012. The initiative was launched on October 13, 2011 to increase awareness of factors that contribute to surgical fires, disseminate surgical fire prevention tools and promote the adoption of risk reduction practices throughout the healthcare community.

Surgical fires, which are preventable medical errors, are fires that occur in, on, or around a patient who is undergoing a medical or surgical procedure. An estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States per year, some causing serious injury, disfigurement, and even death. Fires also start and are put out before they reach the patient.

As consumers, we need to know the risk. Information for Patients on Surgical Fires is available to make us aware of the potential risks of surgery such as the head and neck area surgery pose a greater risk of fire due to the potential for an oxygen-rich environment around a patient’s face from a breathing mask, surgical drapes can catch fire, and we should ask if staff is trained in preventing, recognizing and putting out surgical fires. Learn more about the Prevention Surgical Fires Initiative, consumer information, and the steps staff can take to prevent these devastating events.