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Preventing Surgical Fires

A month ago during a storm with significant straight line winds we had a tree near the house loss it’s top half.

Upon inspection, it turned out the pine tree was infested with pine beetles. We were encouraged to burn the debris to help protect the other trees from the beetles.

This past week my husband cut up the felled tree (we still need to get a tree cutter out to cut down the 2/3s of the tree still standing) and carried it to an area of the front property.  Yesterday morning after a light rain, he decided it was a good time to set it afire and burn it.  Note the red container under the tree to the left.  It contains gasoline.  [Even though he told me he wouldn’t use an accelerant.]  He did run a water hose down from the house which is barely visible in the forefront of the photo.

Medscape has a really nice article with video by Kenneth L. Silverstein, MD; Stephanie Josephon –  Surgical Fires: How They Start and How to Prevent Them:

……….For those of you watching, you can find out more about the FDA’s Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative on our Website. You can also download educational materials and other resources to help reduce the risk for fire at your facility. We hope you’ll join our partnership to help eliminate surgical fires. Thank you for watching.

As with my husband’s fire, thought must be given to the surroundings, what in the area is flammable or the fuel (in the OR – surgical drapes, patient, etc), accelerants or oxidizers (in the OR – concentrated O2, etc), and igniters (in the OR – lasers, cautery). (photo credit)

There must be forethought to prevention, but there must also be thought given to what do we do if a fire starts.  Where is the fire extinguishers?  Does the staff know what to do?

*This blog post was originally published at Suture for a Living*


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