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J Clin Anesth. 2014 Aug;26(5):414-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinane.2013.12.014. Epub 2014 Aug 10.

Fires in Indian hospitals: root cause analysis and recommendations for their prevention.

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Cryogenic Engineering Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721 302, India. Electronic address:


There is an increase in the incidence of intraoperative fire in Indian hospitals. It is hypothesized that oxygen (O2) enrichment of air, is primarily responsible for most of the fires, particularly in intensive care units. As the amount of ignition energy needed to initiate fire reduces in the presence of higher O2 concentration, any heat or spark, may be the source of ignition when the air is O2-rich. The split air conditioner is the source of many such fires in the ICU, neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and operating room (OR), though several other types of equipment used in hospitals have similar vulnerability. Indian hospitals need to make several changes in the arrangement of equipment and practice of handling O2 gas, as well as create awareness among hospital staff, doctors, and administrators. Recommendations for changes in system practice, which are in conformity with the National Fire Protection Association USA, are likely to be applicable in preventing fires at hospitals in all developing countries of the world with warm climates.


Air conditioner; Hospital fire; Oxygen; Safety; Ventilation

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