RACE acronym for fire, redefined

It’s important that, when placed under immediate stress, helpful training takes over so that panic doesn’t.  That’s why nearly everyone trains to the RACE acronym in the event of fire:

  • Rescue
  • Alert
  • Contain
  • Extinguish

in that order.  It’s an easy word to remember, and as acronyms go it’s pretty good.


When reviewing this recently, one of the charge nurses (the quip machine) redefined it as it might also be interpreted:

  • Run
  • Away
  • Crying
  • Eeeee!


I work with some fun people.


  1. In case of emergency, remember PAPER

    Activate alarms
    Evacuate bowels

  2. That’s a good one, too!

  3. The ED where I volunteer had a lot of colorful substance-abuse patients one evening, and we decided that instead of standing for “Airway, Breathing, Circulation,” ABC really meant “alcohol, barbituates, crack.”

  4. When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!

    *Takes sharpie to JCHAO badge flap and puts new RACE definition in*

  5. One night in the ER I was rolling a patient up to the floor via stretcher, and his worried father was following along. And I was STARVING. Suddenly we all smelled smoke and the fire alarm went off. The poor patient and his father were frightened as heck–and for some insane reason I said: “Mmmmm, that smells good—like corn chowder.”

  6. we usually get reminders to remember this acronym. for the life of me, i can never remember what it stands for. however, i am always proud to point out that at least i remember the acronym. therefore, when there is a fire, all i’ll do is scratch my head, and RACE.

  7. Just a word of caution – when your facility is undergoing a Joint Commission survey, don’t make any RACE (or other disaster) quips to members of the survey team.

    JCAHO surveyors tend to have no sense of humor when it comes to disasters in healthcare facilities. (With some justification I suppose.) I’ve heard somber stories of survey results being impacted by a hapless employee who chose an inopportune moment to make a joke.