Although a surgical fire can occur during any surgical procedure, they are most prevalent during surgeries of the head and neck. This is due to the fact that each of the three elements necessary for a fire to ignite is in close proximity. Any burn is serious, however, burns to the face and airways are especially devastating.
With the careful control of the three sides of the fire triangle (the oxygen, the fuel, and the ignition source), Operating Room fires can be prevented. In order to safely control the “fire triangle,” the surgical team which includes the surgeon, anesthesiologist and/or anesthesia staff, as well as the Operating Room nurses, must have knowledge as to the potential for a surgical fire and properly communicate to ensure the patient’s safety.