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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 102-103

Fire safety in dental clinics: Basics for dentists and dental students


1 Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Periodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication20-Jul-2015

Correspondence Address:
Kalyana Chakravarthy Pentapati
Department of Public Health Dentistry, Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Manipal, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2348-2915.161217

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  Abstract 

Fire safety is essential component and requirement in health care sector. It includes components like emergency exits, manual call outs, different types of fire extinguishers, safe assembly area, fire hydrant system with water sprinkler systems etc. We attempt to provide some basics about fire and fire safety that are prerequisite for safe working environment in dental clinics along with some recommendations that can be incorporated in the curriculum.

Keywords: Dentistry, fire, knowledge, safety


How to cite this article:
Pentapati KC, Kukkamalla MA, Purayil TP. Fire safety in dental clinics: Basics for dentists and dental students. J Dent Res Rev 2015;2:102-3

How to cite this URL:
Pentapati KC, Kukkamalla MA, Purayil TP. Fire safety in dental clinics: Basics for dentists and dental students. J Dent Res Rev [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Oct 23];2:102-3. Available from: http://www.jdrr.org/text.asp?2015/2/2/102/161217

Fire safety is essential component and requirement in building infrastructure plans. Components like emergency exits, manual call outs, different types of fire extinguishers, safe assembly area, fire hydrant system with water sprinkler systems etc., are some aspects that have to be addressed. Provision of these systems is mandatory even in dental care settings. Previously, few review articles reported the sources of fire in dental care settings and recommended guidelines for fire safety. [1],[2] Knowledge regarding the use of these systems in various instances is essential to all the health care workers including dentists, dental students, and auxiliaries. In this manuscript, we aimed to review the various guidelines regarding these systems.

There are three essential elements which cause fire viz., fuel source, sufficient heat to ignition and the presence of oxygen, and these three are commonly referred to as fire triangle [Figure 1]. Many materials in dental clinics contribute to each side of the triangle, increasing risk of fire accidents. Like the so-called epidemiological triad for diseases, fire also can be extinguished by removing one of the three components. Modern dental practice particularly involving conscious sedation and general anesthesia often requires the three components of fire triangle to enhance good clinical outcome. [3] Knowing this triangle will help to understand the three basic techniques of fire extinguishing. They are starvation (removing the fuel from the fire), smothering/blanketing (by limiting the oxygen supply), and cooling (cooling the fire to remove heat usually done with water).
Figure 1: Fire triangle

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Fire can be classified into four type's viz., class A (fires due to burning of wood, paper, cloth, trash and other ordinary materials), class B (fires due to gasoline, grease, oil, paint, and other inflammable liquids), class C (fires due to live electrical equipment), and class D (fires due to combustible metals). [4] To extinguish these four types of fires, there are four basic types of fire extinguishers viz., water, dry powder, foam, and carbon dioxide. Water can be used for class A fire only and cannot be used in fires due to flammable liquids and live electrical equipment. Dry powder can be used in Class A, B and C types of fires, foam can be used in class A and B types while cannot be used in live electrical equipment. Carbon dioxide can be used in class B and C fires and should not be used in confined spaces. [5] Knowing the type of fire is crucial and essential to extinguish it with right extinguisher.

Apart from the knowledge of fire and different extinguishers, all the dental care providers should know the emergency exits and manual call points. Regular fire mock drills have to be conducted to make them aware of fire safety and evacuation procedures. Such mock drills should include training about the types of fires and extinguishers, demonstration and use of such extinguishers, location of emergency exits and manual call points and assembling in safe assembly area dedicated for head count of all the authorized personnel in the premises. It should also include when to start and how long one can try extinguishing fire, activating the code red to notify authorities in the institution and call local emergency numbers like 101 (universal help for fire) and 108 (for fire, ambulance, and police) for rescue operations. They also should be trained to switch off all the power supply whenever and wherever possible and refrain themselves from using elevators.

The list of combustible items in dental setting is enormous from basic elements such as latex gloves, mouth masks, cotton rolls, cloth drapes, waxes, isopropyl alcohol, polymethyl methacrylate, spirit lamps, and Bunsen burners, X-ray films to complex elements such as nitrous oxide, fluorocarbons, centralized oxygen, and gas pipelines. Apart from these, there is a close approximation of dental unit water lines with electrical wirings like that in the dental chair and ultrasonic scalers. High voltage electric equipment's like X-ray machines, cone-beam computed tomography scanners, autoclaves, power back-up generators, electrocautery and surgery units, laser units, air conditioners are usually present in the premises. Some exceptional elements like mercury used in thermometers, sphygmomanometers, and amalgamators can produce dangerous toxic compounds when exposed to heat. Work environment in dental offices is not safe without appropriate fire safety awareness. Hence, capacity building involving fire safety specifically developed to dentistry should be included in the 1 st year dental curriculum to acclimatize students about the same. Preferably, they should be included along with the orientation program, and much emphasis should be given for capacity building through regular mock drills. Mere display of emergency exits, manual call out points and fire extinguishers may not be useful without the knowledge about the basic firefighting skills. Such developed skills may be useful later to incorporate into their clinics and other needful areas. Such capacity building exercises are mandatory and are prerequisite by accreditation agencies like ISO, NAAC, NABH. Institutions should comply with the prevailing guidelines so that the safe working environment can be ensured to everyone, and all the personnel involved should continuously revaluate areas to see where they can improve.

 
  References Top

1.
Warren E, McAuliffe M. Fire safety in the dental practice: A literature review. J Ir Dent Assoc 2011;57:311-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
VanCleave AM, Jones JE, McGlothlin JD, Saxen MA, Sanders BJ, Walker LA. Factors involved in dental surgery fires: A review of the literature. Anesth Prog 2014;61:21-5.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Weaver JM. Prevention of fire in the dental chair. Anesth Prog 2012;59:105-6.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.
Available from: http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_class. [Last accessed on 2015 Apr 24].  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
International Fire Service Training Association. Fire detection and suppression systems. 3 rd ed. United States of America: International Fire Service Training Association; 2005. p. 9-10.  Back to cited text no. 5
    


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