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Operating Opinions
A forum for discussion on recent news regarding OR nurses.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
Strategies for preventing surgical fires

Surgical fires in the OR have recently gained added attention due to a recent initiative launched by the FDA. Many OR teams have implemented the FDA’s current safety standards, guidelines, and protocols regarding surgical fire prevention, and are working towards creating checklists and training regimens that educate and prepare staff to prevent and manage a surgical fire event.  According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, out of 28 million surgeries performed in the Unites States per year, 550-600 operating rooms experience a surgical fire.1 


The healthcare community needs to recognize the severity of this issue, and promote strategies that will educate both patients and staff about surgical fires. Regular drills, written guidelines posted throughout the OR, and pre-surgery briefings to discuss the potential of a surgical fire during procedures are all steps that OR teams are taking to better prepare for a potential surgical fire. Staff who are trained this way are more confident and aware of the risks associated with ignition sources that cause fires. Proper communication between staff members and patients and attention to pre-surgery planning are key in managing high-risk situations.


Discussion Questions


What type of training is your facility utilizing to prepare staff for surgical fires? Does your facility implement drills or safety education?


Are all team members part of the fire drill?( i.e surgeons, anesthesia personnel, and other direct and indirect patient care personnel)


Does your facility have a standard set of guidelines used for all surgical procedures to prepare for and prevent surgical fires?





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About the Author

Elizabeth M. Thompson
Elizabeth M. Thompson is the Editor-In-Chief of OR Nurse 2012. She is also a Nursing Education Specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.