Clinical Societies Adopt Surgical Fire Safety Advisory: ECRI Institute Staff Contribute to Suggested Practices

May 1, 2008 | Evaluations & Guidance


In 2006, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) assembled a task force charged with developing a practice advisory to help reduce the risk of surgical fires. The task force consisted of five anesthesiologists, two ASA consulting methodologists, an otolaryngologist, a perioperative registered nurse, and an ECRI Institute engineer/fire investigator. After reviewing hundreds of articles and publications and polling several hundred clinicians and experts (including ECRI Institute staff) on specific issues related to surgical fires, the task force produced the advisory. Titled “Practice Advisory for the Prevention and Management of Operating Room Fires,” it appears in the May 2008 issue of Anesthesiology (Vol. 108, No. 5, pp. 786-801; available online at

The advisory provides an evidence-based foundation to better educate anesthesia providers on how to protect patients from surgical fires. It describes situations that increase the risk of fire, the elements of a fire response protocol, and ways to prevent operating room (OR) fires and reduce adverse outcomes associated with them. The advisory strongly advocates clinical education on these issues. It also includes a one-page flowchart on surgical fire prevention and management. In addition to being approved by the ASA house of delegates in October 2007, the...

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