Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 34

Feature

Selecting the

right fire
extinguisher
for operating rooms
By Bret M. Martin, PE, CSP, CFPS, CHFM, CHE, CHSP, CLSS-HC, director-fire, life safety,
and utilities-Corporate Support, Carolinas Healthcare System

A

ccording to the Association
of periOperative Registered
Nurses (AORN), it is estimated
that there are between 200
and 240 operating room
(OR) fires per year in the
United States. So it stands to reason that
there be a greater focus on fire prevention
and extinguishment in the OR setting.
There has been a significant amount of
debate on the best use and selection of
fire extinguishers in ORs within the health
care environment. In addition, there have
been suggestions that CO2 is the preferred
or recommended fire extinguisher for
ORs. This article provides background
on fire extinguisher types to help settle
this question.
Before discussing fire extinguisher
selection, it is important to note that
regardless of the fire extinguisher
selected for use in the OR, sterile saline
solution should be the first response
for any fire intimately involved with
the patient. The fire extinguisher in the
OR or surgical suite should never be
used directly on the patient. However,
codes or hospital policies may require
extinguishers in case of fires not involving
34 INSIDE ASHE | FALL 2017

patients. Facility professionals should
select a fire extinguisher that meets
safety needs and can contribute to a
quick recovery of operations in the event
of a fire.
To understand the best application
of the different extinguishing agents, it
helps to first understand the combustion
process. When an object is heated to its
combustible temperature through friction,
focused light, or other heat sources,
that material will begin to decompose
into its elemental components and
release volatile hydrogen, carbon, and
oxygen. It is these gases that will sustain
combustion on the surface of the material.
It is the fundamental principles of the
fire tetrahedron (fuel, heat, oxygen, and
the chain reaction) that will sustain the
combustion process. As the gases heat,
they continue to burn; they create more
heat, creating more gas that forms oxygen,
water, carbon dioxide and other products
of combustion, sustaining the combustion
process. To adequately extinguish a fire,
it is necessary to interrupt at least one
of the four elements that make up the
fire tetrahedron. Because it is almost
impossible to eliminate the fuel, common



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Inside ASHE - Fall 2017

Letter from the president
What’s new
Pop quiz
The measurement of a health care facility manager: How do you define success?
Creating a program to identify and monitor pressure dependent spaces
Critical considerations for specifying a building automation system for health care
Bright ideas: LED renovation at Boulder Community Health
Selecting the right fire extinguisher for operating rooms
Still battling reheat energy in hospitals: Short- and long-term ideas for hospitals’ biggest energy use
The financial impact of variable speed ventilation controls in hospital kitchens
Data driven culture fuels University of Florida Health’s success in energy and operational optimization
Energy management in a critical access hospital: How Barnesville Hospital reduced energy consumption by 39 percent
Value analysis: Improving operating margin through cost savings
Member spotlight
Advertisers’ index
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Intro
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - bellyband1
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - bellyband2
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - cover1
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - cover2
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 3
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 4
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 5
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 6
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 7
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 8
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Letter from the president
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - What’s new
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 11
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Pop quiz
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 13
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 14
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 15
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 16
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 17
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - The measurement of a health care facility manager: How do you define success?
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 19
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Creating a program to identify and monitor pressure dependent spaces
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 21
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 22
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 23
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Critical considerations for specifying a building automation system for health care
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 25
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 26
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 27
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Bright ideas: LED renovation at Boulder Community Health
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 29
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 30
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 31
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 32
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 33
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Selecting the right fire extinguisher for operating rooms
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 35
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 36
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 37
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 38
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 39
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 40
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 41
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Still battling reheat energy in hospitals: Short- and long-term ideas for hospitals’ biggest energy use
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 43
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 44
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 45
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - The financial impact of variable speed ventilation controls in hospital kitchens
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 47
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 48
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 49
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 50
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 51
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Data driven culture fuels University of Florida Health’s success in energy and operational optimization
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 53
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 54
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 55
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Energy management in a critical access hospital: How Barnesville Hospital reduced energy consumption by 39 percent
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 57
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Value analysis: Improving operating margin through cost savings
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 59
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Member spotlight
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - Advertisers’ index
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 62
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - cover3
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - cover4
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - outsert1
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - outsert2
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 70
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 71
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 72
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 73
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 74
Inside ASHE - Fall 2017 - 75
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