Fire safety is an essential aspect of protecting lives and property. In emergencies, having the right tools and knowledge can make all the difference. One such tool that plays a crucial role in fire safety is the fire blanket. In this guide, we explore fire blankets, uncovering how they work and when and how to use them effectively.
How fire blankets work
What are fire blankets made from?
Fire blankets are simple yet effective fire suppression tools. They consist of a fire-resistant film between two layers of woven glass fibre fabric. These materials are designed to withstand high temperatures and prevent the fire from spreading.
How do fire blankets stop fires?
Fire blankets work by smothering the fire. When placed over a fire source, they cut off the oxygen supply, which is essential for combustion.
When to use fire blankets
What fires are fire blankets used for?
Fire blankets are particularly useful when water or other extinguishing agents might not be suitable. They are commonly used in kitchens to tackle fires from cooking oils, grease, and fat.
Suppress fires early and quickly
To effectively use a fire blanket, it's crucial to recognise the signs of a fire as early as possible. Fire blankets are designed to extinguish small fires and prevent them from spreading. If a fire is not caught early, it can spread and become too large to deal with with a fire blanket. Class F (cooking oil) fires can spread quickly. Therefore, it is important never to leave cooking oil unattended, as a fire could spread before you are able to respond.
Where are fire blankets used?
Fire blankets are versatile and can be used in various situations, including:
- Kitchen fires: Cooking accidents are a common cause of fires. A fire blanket can swiftly extinguish a stovetop or grease fire.
- Workplace scenarios: Fire blankets should be readily available in workplaces, especially those that handle flammable materials or have electrical equipment.
- Laboratories and industrial settings: These environments often involve volatile substances, making fire blankets an essential safety tool.
How to use fire blankets
- If it is safe to do so, first, turn off the heat source.
- Release the fire blanket from its storage container by pulling the tapes.
- Hold the fire blanket in a protective shield position, and if feasible, wrap it around your hands for added safety.
- Carefully place the fire blanket over the fire to suffocate the flames.
- Allow it to cool completely and ensure that the fire is entirely extinguished, with no possibility of it reigniting.
After using a fire blanket, make sure the fire is completely out. Do not remove the fire blanket until you are certain the fire is extinguished. Fire blankets are single-use - once you have used a fire blanket, dispose of it and replace it with a new one.
Fire blankets vs. other fire suppression methods
Advantages of fire blankets
Fire blankets offer several advantages. They are an inexpensive and easy-to-use solution for extinguishing small fires. Fire blankets can be used for cooking fires and other fire types where water suppressants are unsuitable. They can also be used on people whose clothing has caught fire.
Limitations and when to use alternatives
While fire blankets are excellent fire safety tools, they have limitations. They are most effective in small-scale fires and are not suited to large or intense fires. In such cases, it's essential to have alternative fire suppression methods on hand, such as fire extinguishers.
Fire blanket maintenance and servicing
Fire blanket inspections
Regular visual inspections of fire blankets are essential for safety. These inspections should occur at least once a month, and they can be more frequent if necessary. In business or public settings, fire blankets should undergo an initial inspection when installed and then receive annual servicing to ensure they are well-maintained.
Fire blanket storage
Fire blankets are kept in wall-mounted cases or pouches, ensuring easy access during a fire emergency. It's important to position them within or near the kitchen area but maintain a safe distance from potential fire hazards. Place them in a clearly marked and easily visible spot on the wall.
Fire blankets FAQs
What is a fire blanket, and how does it work?
A fire blanket is a safety tool made of fire-resistant material that smothers fires by cutting off their oxygen supply.
When should I use a fire blanket?
Use a fire blanket for small fires, especially in kitchens, workplaces, or labs, as an immediate response to contain flames.
Can I use a fire blanket for electrical fires?
Yes, fire blankets can be used for electrical fires as they are non-conductive and can effectively smother the flames.
Are fire blankets effective for grease fires?
Yes, fire blankets are highly effective for grease fires as they can suffocate the flames safely.
How do I properly store a fire blanket?
Store a fire blanket in a wall-mounted case or pouch near the kitchen but not too close to potential fire hazards.
How often should I inspect my fire blanket?
Visually inspect your fire blanket monthly and replace it if damaged. A fire blanket should be serviced at installation and then annually.
Can I use a fire blanket more than once?
Fire blankets are single-use. Once used, it should be replaced.
Can a fire blanket replace a fire extinguisher?
Fire blankets can complement fire extinguishers but should not be considered a complete replacement, as they have limitations in handling larger fires. Ensure you have a full array of options for any fire by also having the appropriate fire extinguishers.
Buy fire blankets at Fire and Safety Centre
Mastering fire safety is a responsibility we should all take seriously. When used correctly, fire blankets are invaluable tools that can save lives and property. By understanding how fire blankets work, when, and how to use them effectively, you empower yourself with the knowledge and tools to respond confidently in emergencies.
Ensure you are prepared. Order your fire blankets today.