Fire blankets are now an essential part of any commercial or residential fire safety equipment that should be in every kitchen and other locations if possible and are commonly used in a kitchen related fire e.g. a pan that is on fire but they are extremely useful for other reasons as well. The blanket can be wrapped around someone to protect them if they need to escape or actually extinguish a fire if a person is set alight. It works by smothering the object and oxygen is not able to be used by the fire and therefore reduces and goes out.
Fire blankets should be positioned so they are easily accessible in the event of an emergency so it is advisable to secure them to a wall where they can be pulled out easily and without any obstructions. They should not be not behind heat sources that you have to reach over to access them.
To use a fire blanket is simple, however it is detailed below so you can be aware of the action required before needing to use one. As always in a fire emergency situation you need to assess if the fire is small enough to tackle or if you should be evacuating if you have the opportunity. You should also be considering when to call the emergency services and the sooner you can do so the better.
Pull the tapes from the bottom of the container
Unfold the blanket completely
Hold it with your hands wrapped inside the top edges so it is protecting your hands.
Use it to shield your face and body whilst you approach the fire - making sure you do not obscure your vision so you cannot see where you are going.
Smoother the fire by placing or throwing the blanket on top of it until the fire goes out. Only attempt to adjust it if it is safe to do so.
If someone's clothes are on fire get them to lie on the floor first and place the blanket over them and smoother the flames. Move it around them as you need to if they are not able to roll around.
Let the fire blanket cool for at least an hour. Some are designed to be reused but you may decide to dispose of it once you have a replacement.
Knowing how to use a fire blanket in an emergency is useful and can be practiced as part of a fire safety training programme. Kitchens are the place where blankets are most often used but are also vital in laboratories or areas with flammable liquids. They should be considered as vital as fire extinguishers in these situations; they may not prevent a fire but can prevent them spreading or from people being more severely injured.