Surgical Fire Prevention Toolkit

Surgical fires are rare. But when a surgical fire does occur, the outcome is catastrophic.

In most cases, surgical fires are preventable. However, the entire surgical team’s participation in education and mitigation is crucial to decreasing surgical fire risks. All team members should:

  • Participate in a fire risk assessment
  • Be able to identify the three elements of a fire triangle
  • Maintain open communication during surgical procedures
  • Immediately address any issues that arise during a surgical procedure
  • Understand their role in the surgical team
  • Be prepared to handle a surgical fire if one should occur

This toolkit provides resources and tools to assist your organization in creating and reviewing surgical fire prevention policies and procedures.

Prevention and Mitigation

It is imperative for the entire surgical team to participate in surgical fire risk identification and mitigation. Resources are provided focusing on risk identification and mitigation strategies.

  • Webinar


    Surgical Fire Prevention Webinar

    This 2019 webinar raises awareness of potential hazards that lead to surgical fires. Director of Patient Safety Caroline Stegeman discusses best practices and prevention tools that can be implemented to reduce surgical fire risks.

    TAGS: Potential, Hazards, Quality, Safety, Patient, Practices, Surgical, Fire, Prevention

  • Webinar Slides

    Webinar Slides

    Surgical Fire Prevention Presentation

    Click to view the presentation slides used in the Surgical Fire Prevention webinar.

    TAGS: Safety, Patient, Risk

  • Guidelines/Recommendations


    TJC Sentinel Event Alert: Preventing Surgical Fires

    The Joint Commission (TJC) discusses the identified root causes of surgical fires. The sentinel alert also examines surgical fire risk reduction strategies and prevention recommendations.

    TAGS: Joint, Commission, TJC, Sentinel, Alert, Risk, Reduction, Surgical, Fires, Preventing, Strategies

Surgical Fire Assessment

Easy-to-use risk assessments are available to evaluate the surgical fire risk before, during and after a surgical procedure. These proactive tools can help provide patient safety measures regarding the prevention of surgical fires.

  • Assessment tools

    Assessment tools

    AORN: Fire Prevention Assessment Protocol

    The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) recommends completing this fire prevention assessment protocol prior to any surgical procedure. The protocol contains a risk assessment and interventions based on the assessment and surgical procedure.

    TAGS: AORN, Registered, Nurse, Association, Fire, Prevention, Protocol, Interventions, Risk, Assessment, Surgical, Procedures

  • Algorithms


    OR Fire Prevention Algorithm

    The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) encourages surgical staff members to use this OR fire prevention algorithm poster. The information can be posted in highly visible areas of the surgical suite.

    TAGS: APSF, Anesthesia, Patient, Safety, Foundation, Surgical, Staff, Fire, Prevention, Algorithm

  • Checklists


    AORN: Comprehensive Surgical Checklist

    The Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN's) comprehensive surgical checklist offers recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and The Joint Commission (TJC), including best practices when performing surgical procedures.

    TAGS: AORN, Registered, Nurse, Checklist, Surgical, TJC, Joint, WHO, World, Health, Organization, Commission, Practices

Surgical Staff Resources

Staff members should be aware of things that contribute to surgical fires and how to implement fire prevention strategies. Resources in this section are recommended as staff educational materials to help prepare staff to help reduce the potential of surgical fires.

  • Flyer/Sign/Poster


    OR Fire Prevention Poster

    The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) provides quick tips on how to prevent surgical fires in the OR. The information can be posted in highly visible areas of the surgical suite.

    TAGS: Anesthesia, Patient, Safety, Foundation, Fires, Surgical, APSF

  • Guidelines/Recommendations


    Anesthesiology Journal: Operating Room Fires

    This 2019 article from the peer-reviewed publication Anesthesiology provides information on the three ingredients for fire, their sources in the surgical suite and expert-recommended training on rapid extinguishment of a fire.

    TAGS: 2019, Publication, Surgical, Extinguishment, Anesthesiology, Article

  • Checklists


    AORN: Duties of Perioperative Team Members in a Fire

    Each surgical area should have designated team members with defined responsibilities to fulfill if a fire occurs. This resource by the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) provides a detailed list of defined responsibilities, making it easier to designate each role.

    TAGS: AORN, Registered, Nurse, Team, Surgical, Fire

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Surgical Laser Safety

Utilizing lasers in the surgical arena has potential risks which include incomplete treatment, pain, infection and the possiblity of ingniting a fire that can injure the patient. Information is provided on the best practices of laser safety in the surgical arena.

  • Policy Templates

    Policy Templates

    Duke University Medical Center: Laser Safety Policy

    Using lasers safely in the surgical area is vital for patient and staff member safety. This sample laser safety policy was created by Duke University Medical Center.

    TAGS: Patient, Laser, Policy, Duke, Medical, Safety

  • Guidelines/Recommendations


    AST: Guidelines for Best Practices in Laser Safety

    The Association of Surgical Technologists (AST) presents a guide on laser safety best practices.

    TAGS: AST, Surgical, Laser, Safety, Practices, Technologies, Guidelines

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Surgical Fire Prevention | Online Resource Database

Online resources are available for healthcare providers who are interested in surgical fire prevention and education.

  • American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA)

    The AANA is a great resource for nurse anesthetists and the website provides patient safety topics related to the operating room.

    TAGS: AANA, Nurse, Anesthetists, Website, Patient, Safety, Operating, American

  • Association of Perioperative Registered Nurses (AORN)

    The AORN is a great resource of operating room nurses and the website provides patient safety topics related to the operating room.

    TAGS: Nurse, Website, Safety, Operating, Room, Surgical

  • Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF)

    The APSF is a great resource for Anesthesia providers and the website provides patient safety topics related to the operating room.

    TAGS: Website, Patient, Operating, Safety, Room, APSF