Essential Fire Blanket Facts: How to Safely Suppress Fires

Fire blanket used for protection against accidents.

In our daily lives, we often ignore fire safety until faced with an emergency. One vital safety tool is the fire blanket. This blog post shares seven key facts and a useful guide on how to use them effectively. Let’s begin.

1. Effective Fire Suppression

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A fire blanket is an effective tool for suppressing fires by suffocating them. It removes oxygen, one of the three elements needed for fire, thus preventing it from sustaining itself.

Fire blankets are made from materials that can withstand high temperatures. Small fire blankets for homes and kitchens are typically made of glass fiber or Kevlar, which can handle temperatures up to 1200°C and 480°C respectively. Larger fire blankets for laboratories and industries are often made of wool, sometimes treated with flame-retardant chemicals.

High-performance fire blankets may use Nextel ceramic fibers, which can tolerate temperatures up to 1300°C. With their heat resistance and ability to block oxygen, fire blankets are effective at smothering fires.

2. Easy to Use

Step-by-step guide on how to properly use a fire blanket

One of the advantages of fire blankets is their ease of use. Here’s a simple guide on how to use them:

  1. Firstly, if it is safe to do so, turn off the heat source. This could be the gas or electricity supply.
  2. Remove the fire blanket from its container. Fire blankets usually have two pull-down tails visible from outside the packaging. Place one hand on each tag and pull down simultaneously to remove the blanket from the bag.
  3. Hold the blanket in a shield position using the fabric straps. The top lip of the fire blanket should fold back over your hands, protecting them from heat and direct contact burns.
  4. Gently lay the blanket over the fire, covering the whole area to cut off airflow. Be careful not to throw the bottom of the blanket onto the far side of the fire, as flames can run up the blanket to your hands.
  5. Leave the blanket over the burnt area for at least 15 minutes or until the heat has dissipated.

Tips for handling and storing fire blankets

When it comes to fire safety, proper handling and storage of equipment are key. Fire blankets should always be stored in easily accessible locations. They are often packed in quick-release containers for swift and easy deployment. After use, a fire blanket should not be reused unless it has been professionally inspected and deemed safe.

3. Versatile Fire Safety Tool

Fire blankets are versatile tools that can be used in a variety of scenarios. Not only can they smother small fires, but they can also be wrapped around a person whose clothes have caught on fire to suppress the flames.Furthermore, they can be used as a heat shield during evacuation in a fire situation.

fire blankets in different settings (kitchen, workplace, etc.)

Having a fire blanket readily available is crucial for fire safety in both homes and workplaces. In the kitchen, for example, a fire blanket can quickly put out a stovetop or oven fire. It’s also an essential safety item in laboratories, where flammable chemicals could easily ignite. In industrial settings, larger fire blankets can provide a quick response to fires that might occur due to machinery malfunction. It’s a versatile tool that provides additional fire protection alongside other firefighting equipment such as fire extinguishers.

4. Immediate Response to Fire Emergencies

Fire emergencies require immediate action, and this is where fire blankets shine. They provide a fast and effective response to incipient fires. As they are usually stored in easily accessible, quick-release containers, they can be deployed within seconds. This rapid response can often prevent a small fire from escalating into a large, uncontrollable blaze.

Fire blankets can prevent property damage and save lives by extinguishing small fires before they escalate. They are especially useful for individuals with limited experience in handling fire extinguishers or in situations where a fire extinguisher may not be suitable.

5. Cost-Effective Fire Prevention

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When considering fire safety measures, cost-effectiveness is an important factor. Fire blankets are a relatively affordable option. For instance, fire blankets on Amazon range from $11.99 to $79.99, depending on their size and material.This makes them a more budget-friendly choice compared to other fire safety devices, such as fire extinguishers, which can cost upwards of $100.

While fire blankets are an economical solution, they should not be the only fire safety measure in place. They are most effective when used as part of a comprehensive fire prevention plan, which might include fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems. In this way, you can ensure multi-level protection against various types of fire emergencies.

6. Portable and Easy to Store

Fire blankets are advantageous due to their portability. They are lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry. For instance, one fire blanket on Amazon measures just 13.35 x 10.31 x 3.11 inches and weighs a little over four pounds. This enables you to have a fire blanket in your car, camping gear, or even a large backpack.

Storing the fire blanket in an accessible location is crucial for an effective response during a fire emergency.Ideally, fire blankets should be kept near potential fire sources but away from actual ignition points.

For example, in a kitchen, you might store the fire blanket near the stove but not directly above it. Similarly, in a workplace, the fire blanket should be easily reachable, not hidden in a storage room. Remember, every second is critical in a fire situation!

7. Protects Individuals from Heat and Flames

A fire blanket primarily protects individuals from heat and flames. If a person’s clothing catches fire, it can be wrapped around them to extinguish the flames. Additionally, it can serve as a shield against radiating heat while evacuating during a fire. Personal safety is crucial during a fire, and although fire blankets provide protection, they are not flawless. It is important to adhere to safety guidelines and evacuate if necessary. To enhance safety, it is recommended to have a fire blanket readily available at home or work.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.