How to Use a Fire Blanket

Fire blankets are an important piece of equipment that everyone should own in case of an emergency. But how do you use a fire blanket? And how do fire blankets work? Lucky for you, at First Attendance we have put together a short video perfectly instructing you on fire blanket use and how to safely and effectively operate one in case of emergency. You can find the video below.

What is a Fire blanket?

A fire blanket is a woven piece of fabric, usually constructed from a sheet of fire-resistant material. They are incredibly durable and are able to withstand temperatures of over 900 degrees celsius, and take a significant amount of wear and tear. They are a fairly simple design however they are one of the most effective deterrents against small fires, particularly in the kitchen. 

While it does depend on the manufacture usually they are designed with a silicone-based fire retardant or a fibre-glass weave. This material is able to withstand the heat while also being light enough to be used by virtually anybody. 

Who Should Own A Fire Blanket?

Simply put; everyone! The use of a fire blanket could potentially save lives and stop a full force fire from breaking out. They are especially important in areas that might catch fire easily, like storage spaces with flammable containers or in kitchens in which there is cooking oil and pans that could cause a fire.

Storage

When you purchase a fire blanket and get home, make sure you put it in the correct place and make sure to fit it to a solid surface. Don’t put it too close to the area of risk and you also don’t want it to close to your cooker/oven because if there is a fire you don’t want to be walking around it or leaning over to actually get to the piece of equipment. Make sure it is in an accessible area.

What is a fire blanket used for? - Correct use

We understand what it is, but do we know what a fire blanket is used for? Blankets can be used to extinguish small fires (our definition would be around the size of an office bin). They are most used for small class F fires in the kitchen. Typically these are caused by cooking grease and oils that should under no circumstance be covered in water as this can increase the intensity and danger of the fire. and can help to put out a fire before it gets too big or out of control. Instead, a fire blanket is ideal to quench that particular flame.

Make sure you immediately turn off the gas or electricity supply, and in the event of a larger fire, call the emergency services.

In addition, fires caused by clothes or small house fires can be stopped through suffocation of the air around them by a fire blanket. A fire blanket is also potentially strong enough to carry an individual and as such can be used for this purpose if the situation needs it. Naturally, if any of these fires get out of control you will need to call the fire emergency services immediately.

How Does a Fire Blanket Work?

You may be wondering, what element of the fire triangle does a fire blanket remove? The answer is oxygen. As oxygen is a key element of fire, a fire blanket works by smothering the fire and cutting off the oxygen. Have a look at the video below to see how a fire blanket puts out a fire.

How to Use a Fire Blanket

Step 1:  You’ll normally find tabs at the top or bottom of the box. To release the blanket in an emergency give those tabs a pull. 

Step 2: Before you actually attempt to tackle the fire, try and turn off the gas or electric because that will reduce the heat element within the fire triangle. Ensure that it is safe to do so first.

Step 3: When you use a fire blanket you need to make sure you protect yourself. The easiest way to protect yourself is to hold the tabs so they face you, backs of your hands against the blanket and then fold it in. That’s going to protect you from the radiated heat as you attempt to approach the fire. 

Don’t hold the blanket too high where you can’t see where the risk is or too low that you’re going to trip over. You just want to put arms out straight. Move your weight on to your back foot, move nice and slowly towards the fire and then just place it physically over the top. Don’t attempt to throw the blanket on incase you miss. When you get to this sort of stage and you’re close, don’t pull away because the flames may stick to the blanket and this could actually spread the fire. It has to be just a very quick, swift motion, one step at a time, from there, straight over the top. 

Step 4. Leave the blanket for around 30 minutes or so. Don’t take it off too quickly as, by reintroducing oxygen, there is a chance of re-ignition. Leave the actual pan in situ for at least an hour.

Step 5. If there is any doubt at all that it is still not a safe environment, please pick up the phone, phone the fire service brigade, evacuate the area and get them there as quick as you can.  

Recap:

1. Release the blanket by pulling quickly on the two tabs
2. Turn off the heat source
3. Protect yourself – move slowly, keeping your weight on your back foot and hold the blanket in front to protect yourself
4. Tackle the fire by placing the blanket on top in a quick, swift motion
5. Leave the blanket for 30 minutes before removing 

6. Call the fire brigade – if there are any problems or doubts. And that is how you use a fire blanket. 

How to use a fire Blanket Infographic

 

If you work in an office then it is important to know exactly where the fire blanket is kept at all times and you should also inform your employees as well. You should provide a training session to all employees on how to use a fire blanket and we hope that the above video will help you in doing so. If you’d like us to come to your place of work to properly demonstrate the correct procedure, please contact us and we’ll get something put in the diary.

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