Fire Extinguisher Vs Fire Blanket

Fire extinguishers are not the only way to put out a fire. Fire blankets are convenient and cleanup friendly and can come to the rescue when a small fire breaks out in a kitchen or workshop. So, what are the major differences between the two? Find out below.

Are There Different Types Of Fire Blankets?

Yes, there are different types of fire blankets. These vary depending on the material, size, and how they are stored. Common storage locations for fire blankets include:

  • Wall mounted
  • Shelf – stored
  • Carry bag
  • Floor bin (often vintage fire blankets)
  • Inside wall-mounted fire extinguisher cabinet on top shelf.

Most residential apartment or commercial buildings will have fire blankets mounted next to a fire extinguisher, or inside the wall-mounted fire extinguisher cabinet (with the glass front) on the upper shelf.

You need to choose fire blankets that are suited for your specific fire. The fire blanket must be big enough to cover the entire fire. It should also wrap around the fire on both sides. You may need two separate fire blankets, however this may not be as effective as using one large one.

What Types Of Fires Can Fire Blankets Put Out?

Fire blankets can put out a decent sized range of small fire types. These include:

  • Small kitchen fires (grease, cooking oil)
  • Small wood or paper fires
  • Small Electrical fires
  • Small gas or chemical fires

The most common use of fire blankets are for small class A or B fires. Fire blankets can also be used to put out a fire on a person’s clothing.

Fire Extinguisher Vs Fire Blanket

Fire blankets work by cutting off oxygen to a fire. They are very effective at putting out small fires that do not react well to water, especially stovetop fires burning cooking fats. However, they can only do well for fires that are smaller than the blanket itself.

However, compared to fire extinguishers, fire blankets cannot put out as many different fire types. Fire extinguishers can put out a wider range of them.

Types Of Fire Blanket Materials

Fire blankets are made out of variety of materials, including:

  • Wool
  • Fiberglass
  • Cotton

Each different types of material excels at putting out certain types of fires. Fiberglass is great for putting out grease or oil fires in kitchens or workshops where using water will make them worse.

Wool fire blankets are very good at putting out industrial fires that involve electrical equipment or chemicals. Additional flame retardant material makes them even better at this. Many commercial buildings have wool fire blankets accessible which can be wrapped around people escaping who are escaping during a large fire.

Cotton fire blankets are very good for home fires and wrapping them around babies and pets during an escape. They have non-toxic fire retardants applied that make them safer to handle.

Special water based gel-soaked fire blankets may be made of wool and have enhanced fire protection ability. These work to both put out fires, and smother a person who is caught on fire and risks severe skin burns. This type of fire blanket is more expensive, costing $200+ each.

Are Fire Blankets Easy To Use?

Fire blankets are very easy to use and nearly anyone can learn how. To use one, simply pull it out of its bag or container and throw it over a fire.

The blanket should block the oxygen feeding the flames, which will put the fire out.

Fire blankets are very good at protecting a person while escaping from a burning building. They just need to wrap their torso and head with a large fire blanket. A person who is caught on fire can wrap the blanket around them to smother the flame.

Fire extinguishers, however, can be heavy to hold, and are only good for blasting a fire at a safe distance to put it out. For escaping a burning building, a fire extinguisher may not help keep a person as safe as using a fire blanket.

Can Children Use Fire Blankets?

Yes, children can learn to use fire blankets. As long as they understand what they are used for and big enough to unfurl one. Children also need to be taught fire escape procedures and how to respect the risks associated with fires.

Children may have a hard time learning to use a fire extinguisher properly, especially large ones which they cannot carry. An ordinary blanket can be used to mimic a fire blanket while instructing a child on how to use one.

Fire Blanket Vs Fire Extinguisher Cost

Fire blankets cost between $5 – $100+USD depending on the brand, material, and size. Fire extinguishers are similarly priced, costing between $30-$100+ USD each.

Large, high quality, wool, cabinet mounted fire blankets cost around $100 – 200 each and are suitable for apartment buildings and commercial offices.

Smaller, cheaper fire blankets, for use in kitchen and small home fires are usually sold in packs of 2 or more, rather than individually.

Both fire blankets and fire extinguishers can be reused. Fire blankets just need to be cleaned, refolded and stored again.

In Closing

Both fire blankets and fire extinguishers are very effective tools for putting out fires. However, each one has certain strengths and range of fire types they can extinguisher. Regardless of which one you use, make sure to keep your safety in mind and avoid getting too close to the flames.

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