How to Use a Fire Blanket

A fire blanket is an extremely useful fire safety tool, ideal for fires that cannot be extinguished with water (cooking oil, for example) and for wrapping around people, equipment or other items to extinguish flames. Most people have probably seen a fire blanket at some point – they are a fairly common sight in a range of businesses as well as in the home – but a lot of those people might not have ever had to use one. For this reason, we have prepared this simple guide to using a fire blanket.

What kind of fires are blankets suitable for?

Class F fires (cooking oil fires) are best tackled with an approved fire blanket – the relatively small size of the fire (presumably a chip pan or similar that has ignited) means that a blanket is suited for the task and can quickly starve the flames of the oxygen they need to stay lit.

Other fires suitable for fire blanket use are smaller fires like burning clothing. One of the key benefits of the fire blanket is that it is a physical item that can be wrapped around people or objects to stop the fire from spreading at the same time as extinguishing it, as opposed to a water or foam fire extinguisher which is very difficult to manipulate accurately.

Of course, blankets can also be used alongside other types of fire safety equipment – so in parallel to sprinklers, fire extinguishers, etc.

How are they used?

Your fire blanket should be supplied (and stored) folded away in a wall-mounted box. To use the blanket, you simply pull on the tabs sticking out of the bottom of the box, and the blanket drops right out. Unfold the blanket – just holding the tabs and shaking the blanket should quickly achieve this. Then, place the blanket over the flames to smother them – or in the case of a clothing fire, quickly wrap the blanket around the item that is on fire. Leave the blanket in place until you are 100% sure that the fire is out and ideally the area/item has cooled off to minimise the chances of reignition.

Things to be aware of

When you are designing your fire safety plan, it is important that you use the correct kind of extinguisher for the likely type of fire. Fire blankets are perfect for kitchens, boats and other areas where a smaller fire is the most likely – larger fires will likely be too big for the blanket and so additional extinguishers will be required.

Make sure that you source your fire blanket from a high-quality supplier and look out for the British Standards Kitemark showing that it is certified to BS EN 1869:1997, the standard for UK fire safety equipment.

Install your fire blanket in an easy to see, accessible spot – throwing it on top of a cupboard where no-one can see it or reach it is pointless. In business premises it should be wall-mounted at a reasonable height but, in the home, it could alternatively be placed in an easy to reach drawer if space is limited. However, you must make sure everyone in the household knows where it is kept.

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