A fire blanket is a vital tool in extinguishing a fire by cutting off the oxygen supply. These specially designed and manufactured blankets can be used to completely smother small fires.
There are three key questions to answer when it comes to fire blankets;
1. Do you need training to use a fire blanket effectively?
2. Can you use one on a person?
3. Can you reuse a fire blanket?
Let’s take a look at all the factors involved in all three answers to those questions and help make sure that you know more about how, when and why to use a fire blanket properly.
If you don’t know what you’re doing in a fire, then you could be leaving the door open to disaster.
Using a Fire Blanket
The main use of a fire blanket is to deal with smaller Class F fires (that is where a fire catches from cooking oils and fats). The idea is to smother the flames and wait for the fire to properly burn out which can take some time.
As we any fire equipment, using a fire blanket correctly can make a huge difference.
If you do not know how to tackle a fire properly, you could end up making the matter worse and actually spread the fire. That is particularly true when it comes to using a fire blanket.
The basic steps in how to use a fire blanket follow;
- Stop the source of the fire but ONLY if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe, then wait until the fire is fully extinguished before turning off the source of heat.
- Remove the fire blanket from its packaging and stretch it out fully. It’s important to know if the blanket will be large enough to cover the size of the fire.
- While keeping the fire blanket at arm’s length, and looking over the top of the blanket, carefully approach the fire. Always have a clear view of what you are doing and where the fire is.
- Slowly cover the fire with the fire blanket so as not to spill any burning oils. Dropping the blanket on the fire could simply make it spread.
- You will need to leave the fire blanket in place for at least 30 minutes to an hour. The fire can easily re-ignite once it has a source of oxygen again. Oils and fats take time to cool completely.
- Once you have placed the fire blanket over the fire, leave the room or area and shut the door behind you. Then call the fire brigade and detail what has happened and the location.
If you have any doubt about tackling the fire or that your fire blanket or equipment is safe to use, then shut the door and call the fire brigade. It’s crucial that you do not put yourself or others in harm’s way.
Other uses for a fire blanket
Fire blankets can be used in different situations. They are a quick and effective way to deal with oils and fats that have caught fire, usually in a cooking environment.
They can also be used in the emergency to wrap around someone whose clothes have caught alight. This is especially useful if the person in question cannot drop and roll to put the flames out.
Always ensure that your hands are safely covered in the blanket as you wrap the person in the fire blanket.
You can also use the fire blanket if you need to move through a room that has caught fire. You can wrap yourself, a child or baby or another person in the fire blanket as you pass through the affected area.
Can you reuse a fire blanket?
The answer is No.
Fire blankets are an emergency measure and they are not designed or made for reuse. A fire blanket should always be properly disposed of after use and immediately replaced.
Fire blankets must be non-flammable themselves and provide the strongest possible barrier against heat and oxygen. Modern fire blankets have a fiberglass layer and come in a range of sizes.
Once a fire blanket is used, it may not be as effective against the heat or be able to stop oxygen from getting to the fire. This is why it is a clear No to the question – Can you reuse a fire blanket?
It’s too dangerous to have any fire equipment that does not perform properly in the case of a fire.
When is it wrong to use a fire blanket?
Once a fire becomes widespread or beyond the size of the fire blanket, that blanket will no longer be effective. You should only use this fire blanket if it is for personal protection and always make sure that safety is the top priority.
It’s crucial to know how and when to properly use a fire blanket. Treat it exactly the same as you would for using a fire extinguisher and be sure that everyone is across the correct use and the location of your fire blanket and any other fire-fighting equipment.
It is also important to have your fire blankets and equipment properly maintained and checked. That’s where Jim’s Fire Safety come into the picture.
We’re the true professionals when it comes to fire safety including; fire extinguisher inspections, fire hose reel testing and fire blanket inspection.
Talk to Jim’s Fire Safety today – and be sure you’re fire safe.
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