Learning how to prevent a fire or get it under control till the fire department arrives can be vital for your safety. Fire blankets are one of the essentials when it comes to home fire safety. They are specially designed to keep the fire from spreading and protecting people trying to escape a blaze.
When to Use a Fire Blanket?
You probably have some fire safety protocols already in place to reduce the damage to your property and valuable belongings. Fire alarms, emergency lights, and fire blankets help detect and control a fire in its inception phase.
However, learning when and how to use these fire safety measures is what will truly help you.
Fire blankets are one of the easiest equipment to use in the case of a fire emergency. They are highly effective against small fires and can prevent them from growing and spreading.
The most appropriate time to use a fire blanket is for house fires or fire that occur within smaller, confined spaces. These blankets are made of various kinds of nonflammable materials that can withstand heat levels of over 900 degrees. This makes them perfect for smothering fires in their inception phase, or covering yourself to prevent burns..
Moreover, fire blankets can be exceptionally advantageous for the safety of physically impaired people. Since it’s difficult for them to escape quickly, fire blankets buy valuable time. They can wrap themselves with a blanket while moving slowly out of the building, or staying in a room awaiting the fire department.
Remember that most people aren’t strong enough to lift a fire extinguisher, neither are they trained to use it. In such circumstances, fire blankets can be lifesavers. They are mounted in quick-release containers, so you can reach out and wrap it around yourself or others for safety.
How to Use a Fire Blanket Safely?
Now that we’ve discussed what fire blankets are used for, let’s go over how to utilize them safely. Since different fire circumstances require you to take different steps, we have divided them into two categories. These steps will help you determine the cause of the fire, and how to act quickly so the fire doesn’t spread further.
Smothering Small Fires
These include fires that occur over the stovetop, camping grounds, or any cooking media. If any of your pots or pans are on fire, this is what you need to do;
Check if the heat source is safe to turn off. If it is, do so immediately using heat proof gloves. Otherwise, let it burn without moving the pots or pans, especially those containing an inflamed liquid.
Pull on the tabs of the fire blanket to release it from its box.
Hold the fire blanket in front of you as a shield. You should also try to wrap it around your hands for an added layer of fire protection.
Gently place the blanket over the surface that is on fire to smother it. Be very careful while doing this to prevent your hands or clothes from catching fire.
Leave the blanket covering the entire surface for at least 15-20 minutes. Do not attempt to remove it to check if the fire has been put off before that.
Fires on Clothing
Here is what you’ll need to do if your clothes are on fire.
Reach out and pull on the tapes of the closest fire blanket immediately.
As it releases from its box, quickly wrap it around yourself completely. Be sure to cover most of your clothing as possible, instead of just the on-fire part.
If another person’s clothes are on fire, the fire blanket use is a little different. You should first hold the blanket in front of yourself like a shield. Wrap the corners around your hands to keep them safe. Then, drape it over the person who is on fire to smother it down.
How to Use a Fire Blanket in a Lab?
It is highly recommended to have multiple fire blankets placed all over the lab to optimize the lab personnel’s safety. As flammable liquids and Bunsen burners are commonly used, everyone working in the lab should be trained on fire safety protocols. This includes fire blanket use to prevent increased damage from a fire.
The fire blankets should be placed in an easily accessible part of the lab. In case of a fire emergency, the person on fire should immediately adopt the stop, drop and roll strategy. As they do so, another person should reach out for the fire blanket box, release it and wrap it around their body.
Important Note: Fire blankets can be used for people experiencing any form of shock as well. It keeps them warm until medical help arrives.
How to Use a Fire Blanket in a Classroom?
Accessible and functionals are a must-have for every classroom. It keeps students safe in case of electrical fires and any equipment malfunctioning. Students can quickly and effectively stop the spread of most small classroom fires using a fire blanket.
Conducting fire safety drills and yearly training on how to use a fire blanket will ensure your students’ maximum safety. Every single student should know how to pull on the two tabs at the bottom of the blanket box to release it. Moreover, they should be aware of the correct shielding position to adopt and how to keep their hands safe.
How to Use a Fire Blanket in Your Home?
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has reported over 353,100 home fires over the past five years. These have caused an annual loss of over $7.2 billion in property damages, and 2,620 civilian lives have been lost.
By knowing how to protect yourself against a house fire, you can easily minimize the damage to your valuables and lead your loved ones to safety. Fire blanket use is one of the most effective ways to do this.
As soon as you notice a fire or the smoke detector goes off, rush to turn the source off. If it isn’t safe, skip this step and instead reach out to the fire blanket box. Release it by pulling the tabs on the bottom with a sharp tug. This blanket will be your shield as you brave the fire.
Use the directions mentioned above depending on the kind of fire it is. Be sure to leave the blanket on until the fire has completely subsided.
Fire blanket use around your home, classroom, and office building doesn’t just save precious lives; it can also save you millions in property damages. By acting quickly and smartly, you can smother the fire before it has time to spread to other areas and get out of control.
Make sure all the people frequenting these places are well-versed with all the fire safety protocols. They should know how to react in case of an emergency and the right way to use a fire blanket when fighting a fire.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.