Rescue, Alarm, Contain, Extinguish/Evacuate (R.A.C.E..)


Rescue, Alarm, Contain, Extinguish/Evacuate (R.A.C.E..) is an acronym commonly used in hospital to help all staff remember how to properly deploy and when to use a fire extinguisher in an emergency.

the handy acronym R.A.C.E. will help if you are involved in a fire or discover a fire:[1]

  • Rescue -- rescue or remove people from the area of danger. This includes opening doors, directing people to a safe zone beyond fire doors or outside, or assisting caregivers with patient lifting. Generally, rescue does not mean entering an area where there is fire or smoke. It is never, ever safe to enter a room where the door is closed and the handle or door itself feels warm or hot, no matter what you hear.
  • Alarm -- sound the alarm by activating a pull station in a hallway, telling a coworker, calling your switchboard, or all of the above. Ideally, "Rescue" and "Alarm" happen simultaneously. Depending on the location of the fire emergency, it's better to alarm first; if light gray smoke is coming from a restroom at the end of a hallway, for example, pull the alarm on the way. 
  • Contain -- close windows, doors, and keep unauthorized people away from the area of danger. In many hospitals with automated fire systems, the building itself will contain and extinguish any fire to some degree. But a containment strategy also controls people and traffic; this means clearing hallways and stationing someone at exits to direct emergency personnel to the fire.
  • Extinguish or Evacuate -- small fires can sometimes be extinguished using portable fire extinguishers, or it may be necessary to evacuate. As a rule, you should only try to put out fires smaller than you.

It's best to leave fire emergencies to professionals. By following R.A.C.E. and using P.A.S.S. when necessary to rescue and contain, extinguishing if possible, you can keep people away from the area of danger and return as soon as possible to the important work of providing better patient care.[2]


  1. Fire Engineering. "Hospital Fire Safety: RACE for the Extinguisher and PASS on It!" 7/1/2008.
  2. Scott Warner. Advanced Medical lab Professionals. "RACE and PASS By learning the basics of fire response. you can be prepared for any fire emergency.". Aug 2012.