ASHRM joins the FDA in surgical fire prevention effort

The American Society for Healthcare Risk Management (ASHRM) in Chicago is partnering with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help prevent surgical fires. The groups are offering fire prevention resources to hospitals.

An estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires occur in the United States each year, the FDA reports. Professionals involved with the initiative recommend that healthcare organizations conduct a fire risk assessment at the beginning of each procedure. The procedures at highest risk of fires include head, neck, or upper chest surgeries since they involve an ignition source, delivery of supplemental oxygen, and the operation of the ignition source near the oxygen.

Communication among the surgical team is critical, the groups advise. In particular, the anesthesia professional must communicate with the surgeon controlling the ignition source and the clinician applying the skin preparation agent.

For more information on the Surgical Fires Prevention Initiative, go to