Knowledge of the Fire Triangle Is Key to Preventing Surgical Fires

March 20, 2019 | Strategic Insights for Health System


​Knowledge of the elements of the fire triangle (fuel, ignition source, oxidizer) and where they exist in in the operating department is critical to reducing surgical fires, according to an article in the March 2019 issue of Anesthesiology. Surgical fires, although rare, result in two to three patient deaths each year. Considered "never events," surgical fires have gained significant media attention and are an increasing source of liability claims, the authors say. The majority of surgical fires occur on the patient's body during monitored anesthesia care, so the authors recommend the oxidizer component of the fire triangle receive special attention during training. Common oxidizers in the operating room are oxygen and nitrous oxide.

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