What is a fire blanket made of? Simply put, it is made of fire-proof materials such as glass wool and is likely used for oil-related fires. While water hoses and fire extinguishers are usually seen in strategic areas, fire blankets are often overlooked despite being one of the essential fire protection appliances in the home.
Businesses and rented properties are required to have a fire risk assessment, and this requires them to provide a sort of fire-fighting equipment such as a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in the premises.
Operating A Fire Blanket
There are three key elements in creating fire: heat, fuel, and oxygen. The fire blanket is designed to cut off the oxygen supply, effectively putting out the fire. Fire blankets typically come with hinged caps or security seal options to ensure that the fire blanket is not tampered with.
When using a fire blanket, it must seal to a solid surface around the fire. Follow the steps below to help you use the fire blanket properly.
For oil or pan fires
Step #1. Turn off the heat source only when it is safe to do so. Do not attempt to move the pan as it could be dangerous.
Step #2. Fire blankets usually have pull-down tails visible from their packaging. Pull the tapes to release the blanket.
Step #3. Hold the blanket in over or in front of you, in a shield position, and when possible, wrap the blanket around your hands to add a layer of protection.
Step #4. Place the blanket carefully over the pan or container to smother the fire.
Step #5. Leave the pan to cool. Do not attempt to uncover it until it has cooled completely to avoid restarting the fire. Once your fire blanket has been placed over the fire, you can remove the ignition source, such as the electrical power, gas, or flames.
For clothing fires
Step #1. Pull down the tapes to release the fire blanket.
Step #2. Hold the blanket in a shield position, and protect your hands by wrapping the blanket around them.
Step #3. Wrap the blanket tightly around the person to put out the fire.
When to use a fire blanket
Fire blankets are used as a safety device for beginning or small fires. It is made of fire retardant material such as glass fiber or Kevlar, which can be placed over an active fire to cut off the oxygen supply and smother the fire before it grows. Fire blankets are also used for oil-related fires, such as chip pan or barbecue-related fires, or even smaller office-related fires.
Fire blankets and fire extinguishers are everyday fire-safety items that are useful in cases of small fires. Non-flammable fire blankets are beneficial in temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. They are easy to use and can be helpful for those who are inexperienced with using fire extinguishers.
There are also larger fire blankets, which are used for laboratory or industrial situations. These ones are typically made of wool and are sometimes treated with some flame-retardant fluid.
Once released for use, it is best to leave the blanket on the pan or person for several minutes to ensure that the fire is completely put out. It is important to note, however, that fire blankets should be replaced once used. This is because you can never be sure whether or not it has been damaged enough to be no longer practical for further use.
Depending on where you live, there should be a code of practice for maintaining fire-safety products like fire extinguishers and blankets. The Fire Industry Association recommends that a responsible person should ensure that fire blankets are subjected to annual maintenance services provided by a competent service provider. It also suggests that the fire blankets should be replaced after seven years from commissioning or as specified by the fire blanket’s manufacturer.
Fire blankets are used in commercial kitchens, hotel rooms, homes, hospitals, and even industrial applications. It can extinguish early-stage fires and can effectively prevent thousands of dollars in damages caused by fires.
It can also be used as a protective shield and has an unlimited shelf-life. However, it is best to replace your fire blankets every few years to ensure safety.
Unlike fire extinguishers, halon systems, or even water, fire blankets are mess-free and multi-use. You cannot use them to extinguish fires, but they are helpful as a protective shield in case of building evacuation.
Untreated material used in the production of fire blankets will not burn or melt up to a certain point. While it is enticing to get larger fire blankets, larger dimensions could hinder evacuation or safety because it will be challenging to handle them.
While fire blankets are helpful, they do come with caveats. For instance, fire blankets are not recommended for larger fires as they require a person to be near the fire in the first place.
Furthermore, while fire blankets are helpful for protection, fire extinguishers carry certain benefits for consumers, like being in a safe distance while putting out fires. Still, it is helpful for one to keep them around for safety and protection purposes.