Fire in ICU

Fire in ICU


Approach to Fire in ICU has 3 key goals:

  • (1) protect patients and staff
  • (2) manage fire hazard
  • (3) identify cause and prevention

Following a fire conduct a review of incident and response to identify cause of fire and any issues with management with subsequent review of fire policy and implementation of staff education and simulation exercises.




  • Remove all patients and staff from immediate danger area with safe disconnection of lines, monitoring and equipment and manual ventilation of patients, if safe to do so


  •  activate fire alarm
  • notify switchboard (e.g. “respond red confirmed”), stating exact location and nature of fire
  • Activate unit fire drill
  •  take instructions from the designated area fire warden


  • shut all doors and windows
  • turn off oxygen outlets


  • If fire is smaller than a waste basket attempt to extinguish, if trained and safe to do so
  • use appropriate extinguishers (CO2 and dry powder) and fire blankets


  • if fire uncontrolled evacuate patients via fire exits
  • Evacuate visitors, then the most stable patients first and most unstable last while continuing essential organ support, monitoring and essential medications
  • Staff should evacuate after all patients have been removed and rooms checked, if safe to do so
  • Depending on the extent of the fire this may be:
    — Horizontal evacuation through at least one set of fire doors to another part of the ICU or an acute care area on the same floor
    — Vertical evacuation via stairs to the floor below
    — Out of building evacuation
  • evacuate to predesignated areas (assembly points)
  • Liaison with ED, OT, HDU, CCU and other high care areas in the hospital and/or neighbouring hospitals for ongoing care of the evacuated patients


Appropriate use = PASS

  • Pull the lockpin from its place
  • Aim the nozzle at the base of the flames
  • Squeeze the handles together; and
  • Sweep from side to side at the base of the flames

Do not use a fire extinguisher unless there are two trained staff and it is safe to do so.

Source: Life in the fast lane