At least three fires have occurred in UK ICUs over the last 10 years, all of which required full-scale emergency evacuation of patients, staff and relatives.
Many changes were put in place following the fire in Bath in 2011. While writing the Guidelines for the Provision of Intensive Care Services, a number of outstanding issues became apparent which needed addressing by a multidisciplinary Working Party made up of clinicians, healthcare fire officers and representatives from industry, the Fire and Rescue Services, NHS Improvement and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The Association of Anaesthetists and ICS therefore set up an expert Working Party as a joint venture, and these guidelines have been produced as a result of the work of this group. During the COVID-19 pandemic, issues around fire safety, emergency evacuations and the safe use of oxygen have become especially relevant, and these are discussed in more detail in online Supporting Information Appendix S1.