A fire blanket is a kind of fire safety appliance used to tackle minor contained fires typically found in kitchens, garages, small factories, etc. Fire blankets are made of specially treated synthetic and fire-resistant or fire-retardant materials, including woven fibreglass and wool, which can withstand high temperatures of around 500 to even 900 degrees Celsius.
Having a fire blanket handy in case of a fire breakout can prevent fire from spreading and potentially save lives. As the name suggests, fire blankets are designed to protect by blanketing and smothering a fire.
The fire blankets ideally come in two shapes, either square or rectangular, with each side being a minimum of 1 meter to a maximum of 1.8 meters.
How To Use a Fire Blanket To Stop Kitchen Fires Caused by Cooking Oil or Fat?
One thing to note in the case of fire blankets is that they are only useful in small fires.
The first thing to do to prevent fire from growing in case of a kitchen fire or any fire mishaps, for that matter, is to turn off the fuel or heat source. With kitchen fires, it is mostly stove or gas.
Once you have turned off the heat source, open the fire blanket to cover the flame entirely. Covering the whole flame is essential to stop the fire from getting enough oxygen to sustain itself.
How Does a Fire Blanket Work?
When using a fire blanket to stop the fire, it is important to position yourself so that your clothes don’t catch fire. The fire blankets work on the principle of starving the fire of oxygen necessary for combustion.
Make sure you wrap your hands around the upper edges of the fire blanket to protect against any burns while covering the flame.
Don’t just throw the fire blanket on the fire and expect it to work. The fire blanket must be laid gently, encircling the flames completely. This will stop the fire from getting enough oxygen and spreading further.
Let the fire blanket be at its place until the fire is completely extinguished, and there’s no risk of re-ignition.
The fire blankets are designed for one-time use only and are not reusable. So, dispose of the fire blanket after use.
How to Use a Fire Blanket to Protect Yourself during Fires?
Fire blankets are particularly useful for personal protection, especially if the person’s clothes catch fire. The fire blankets should be wrapped around the person and asked to drop and roll on the ground till the fire is completely extinguished.
For workplaces where risks of fire hazards are prevalent, larger sizes fire blankets should be kept handy. It is primarily because the small-sized fire blankets may not entirely cover medium-sized flames or wrap around a person completely.
Knowing the correct way to use a fire blanket can mitigate the risk of fire to a great extent and safeguard against the loss of valuables and lives.
Fire Blanket Maintenance
The fire blankets should be kept in a handy yet safe location where they are not contaminated with fats, cooking oil, or other flammable materials. Fire blankets contaminated with these materials pose the risk of fire hazards and may not effectively stop the fire.
The extinguishment quality of the fire blanket degrades after use as it is contaminated with unfriendly and flammable materials. This is why the fire blankets should be disposed of after one use and replaced immediately. Your fire blanket should get inspected while the rest of your fire equipment is being inspected.
Fire Blanket Signage
As per NZS4503, the fire blankets must be mandatorily accompanied by fire blanket signage.
The fire blanket signage must be located strategically to be easily visible, ideally around 2 meters above the floor level. It enables quick response during fire emergencies.
The dimension of the fire blanket signage should be a minimum of 400 mm X 200 mm.
Storing Fire Blanket
The fire blankets should be kept in an easily accessible location. The ideal locations for storing fire blankets are across the travel paths in high-traffic zones or around the exits.
Keeping the fire blankets right above or in close proximity to where you cook may contaminate and grease the fire blanket.
Moreover, in the event of a fire, reaching out to the fire blanket may become risky or even impossible if placed very close to gas, stove, or the potential source of fire hazard.
Fire Blanket Sizes
While the market is filled with a range of fire blanket sizes. The standard sizes of fire blankets variants popular in New Zealand are available in –
- 1.0 m X 1.0 m – Ideal for homes and small kitchens
- 1.2 m X 1.2 m – Ideal for homes and large home kitchens
- 1.2 m X 1.8 m – Ideal for commercial kitchens, clothing fires, and small workplaces with potential fire hazards.
- 1.8 m X 1.8 m – Ideal for commercial kitchens, commercial facilities, and clothing fires.
Does a Fire Blanket Substitute a Fire Extinguisher?
No, it doesn’t. It is recommended to keep fire extinguishers and fire blankets handy during fire emergencies. Fire blankets are meant to be used alongside fire extinguishers, and one doesn’t overlap the importance of the other.
In fires of higher classes, fire extinguishers are a must. Remember, the fire blankets are only useful to stop small contained fires. It cannot potentially safeguard against larger fires.
Fire emergencies don’t occur with a warning, and it’s wise to stay prepared. It’s a worthy investment in a product you don’t ever hope to use, but if the situation ever demands it – you’ll be glad you made the right choice.