A fire blanket is a woven piece of fabric, usually constructed from a sheet of fire-resistant material. They are incredibly durable, can withstand temperatures of over 900 degrees celsius, and take a significant amount of wear and tear. They are a reasonably simple design; however, they are one of the most effective deterrents against small fires, particularly in the kitchen.
While it depends on the manufacturer, they are usually designed with a silicone-based fire retardant or a fibre-glass weave. This material can withstand the heat while being light enough to be used by virtually anybody.
When you purchase a fire blanket and get home, ensure you put it in the correct place and fit it to a solid surface. You shouldn’t put it too close to the risk area and don’t want it too close to your cooker/oven. Make sure it is in an accessible location.
We understand what it is, but do we know the purpose of a fire blanket?
Fire blankets can extinguish small fires (our definition would be around the size of an office bin). They are mainly 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 for quenching that particular flame.
Make sure you immediately turn off the gas or electricity supply and call the emergency services in the event of a larger fire.
In addition, fires caused by clothes or small house fires can be stopped by a fire blanket suffocating the air around them. 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. If any of these fires get out of control, you must immediately call the fire emergency services.
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. Look at the video below to see how a fire blanket puts out a fire.
You’ll generally find tabs at the top or bottom of the box. To release the blanket in an emergency, give those tabs a pull.
Before attempting to tackle the fire, try turning off the gas or electricity because that will reduce the fire element within the fire triangle. Ensure that it is safe to do so first.
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, the 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 want to put your arms out straight. Move your weight onto your back foot, move nice and slowly towards the fire and then place it physically over the top. Don’t attempt to throw the blanket on in case you miss. When you get to this stage, and you’re close, don’t pull away because the flames may stick to the blanket, which could spread the fire. It has to be just a rapid, swift motion, one step at a time, straight over the top.
Leave the blanket for around 30 minutes or so. Please 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.
If there is any doubt 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 quickly as possible.