Prevention and Preparation for an OR Fire





  • Anesthesiologists should have fire safety education specific to OR fires and participate in OR fire drills with the entire OR team.


  • Before each surgical case, the entire OR team must determine if a case is at high risk for surgical fires.
  • If a high-risk situation exists, the team must decide on a plan and roles for preventing and managing a fire.
  • In every OR where a fire triad can exist, a protocol for the prevention and management of fires should be displayed.


  • Avoid using ignition sources in proximity to an oxidizer-enriched atmosphere.
  • Configure surgical drapes to minimize the accumulation of oxidizers.
  • Allow sufficient drying time for flammable skin prepping solutions.
  • Moisten sponges and gauze when used in proximity to ignition sources.
  • The anesthesiologist should collaborate with all surgical team members throughout the procedure to minimize the presence of an oxidizer-enriched atmosphere in proximity to an ignition source.
  • During high risk procedures in which an ignition source is to be used in an oxidizer-enriched atmosphere, before the ignition source is activated
  • Announce the intent to use the source
  • Reduce the delivered oxygen concentration to the minimum required to avoid hypoxia
  • Stop the use of nitrous oxide


  • Recognize early signs of fire.
  • If fire is present, halt the procedure and initiate fire management tasks.
  • For airway fires, remove tracheal tube, stop flow of all airway gases, remove all other flammable materials from airway, and pour saline into airway.
  • For non-airway fires, stop the flow of all airway gases, remove burning or flammable materials and extinguish fire.
  • After fire is extinguished, reestablish ventilation, assess the patient’s status and devise a plan for ongoing care.

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The ASA does not employ physician anesthesiologists on staff and cannot respond to patient inquiries regarding specific medical conditions or anesthesia administration. Please direct any questions related to anesthetics, procedures or treatment outcomes to the patient’s anesthesiologist or general physician.