Keeping a fire blanket on hand is very beneficial – especially in workplaces where the risk of fire is higher than others. They provide a way of controlling fires that may not be easily extinguished.
Maintaining a fire blanket for emergency situations in the office or other commercial premises could possibly save a company thousands of pounds in equipment replacement – or even save someone’s life. Keep reading to find out more about fire blankets and how to use them.
What is a fire blanket?
A fire-blanket is made from highly flame-resistant materials that can be used to either extinguish a small fire such as a pan fire on a cooker.
What are fire blankets made from?
Fire blankets are manufactured from two layers of woven glass fibre fabric with an inner layer of fire-retardant film. When the blanket is used to smother a fire, these work together to cut off any oxygen from getting to it, so starving the flames and extinguishing them. What type of fires can fire blankets be used on?
Generally, a fire blanket can be used on Class A, B and D fires. These are fuelled by ordinary combustibles such as wood or paper, flammable liquids like oil or gas, or by combustible metals including magnesium and titanium.
They can also be used to extinguish burning clothes and hair. Wrapping a fire blanket around the affected area will quickly put the fire out.
Before using a fire blanket
If you spot a fire or the start of a fire, you should follow the steps below before considering using a fire blanket:
- Activate the building fire alarm system and call 999 to alert the emergency services.
- Announce the fire to others in the building so they can evacuate.
Consider the size of the fire and if it is too big, or you feel that you cannot confidently and safely use a fire blanket, you should evacuate too and wait for the fire brigade to arrive.
How to use a fire blanket
Follow the steps below to use a fire blanket safely and correctly in the event of an emergency.
- If it’s a cooker fire, turn off the gas or electricity supply.
- Roll up your sleeves so they do not catch in the flames.
- Remove the fire blanket from its container and hold it by the fabric straps.
- To prevent burns make sure you wrap the top edges of the blanket around your hands to protect them.
- Carefully cover the whole fire with the blanket.
- If the fire is larger than the blanket, DO NOT attempt to put it out. You should evacuate and wait for the emergency services to arrive.
Important note: Do not touch the fire blanket or anything underneath it until at least 60 minutes after the fire has been extinguished to prevent any burns.
Does a fire blanket replace a fire extinguisher?
No, it does not. A fire blanket can be the best way of tackling small, contained pan fires, but larger, or different classes of fire will require an appropriate extinguisher. If the class of fire is not listed on the fire blanket box or is too big to be contained with a blanket, the right fire extinguisher should be used and 999 should be called straight away.
Make sure that the fire blanket you choose conforms to the relevant safety standards and is regularly checked and maintained so it is always ready to use.
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