How to Use a Fire Blanket
A fire blanket is a crucial piece of fire safety equipment that has several uses. Fire blankets can be used to extinguish small fires, and they can be wrapped around a person whose clothes are alight. If you need to escape from a burning building, a fire blanket will also help to protect you against heat and flames.
Having a fire blanket, though, is not going to be helpful if you do not know how to use it. So, here is everything you need to know about fire blankets and a guide on how to use one.
Main Image: Smilco Fire Blanket.
What is a Fire Blanket?
A fire blanket is a fire-resistant covering that is used to smother flames. The fire blanket is usually contained in a quick-release pouch or box, which you install on a wall, with two tabs that you pull to release the fire-resistant sheet.
Who Should Own A Fire Blanket?
Fire blankets should be present in every building, including places of work and domestic properties. The most important rooms in a building in which there should be a fire blanket are kitchens, and anywhere where flammable materials are in use.
Where Should Fire Blankets Be Kept?
You should install fire blankets in the places where a fire is most likely to occur. Fire blankets should not, though, be installed too close to the potential source of the fire. A fire blanket in your kitchen, for example, should not be placed too close to the stove. If you placed fire-fighting equipment too close to your kitchen stove, the flames from a fire might prevent you from reaching the blanket or extinguisher.
When Should You Use a Fire Blanket?
Fire blankets are designed for use on small fires, such as cooking fires in the kitchen. They can also be used to wrap around a person whose clothes have caught on fire. You can also wrap a fire blanket around yourself to deflect heat and flames should need to exit a burning building.
If it appears that the fire is too large to smother with a fire blanket, though, you must exit the building immediately and call the fire department.
How to Use a Fire Blanket
Fire blankets extinguish fires by limiting the supply of oxygen to the flames. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use a fire blanket.
1. Attempt to Turn Off Gas or Electric
If it is safe to do so, you should attempt to turn off the electricity or gas supply before you use a fire blanket on something like a stove fire. Cutting off the fuel supply will help to reduce the heat. Only try to switch off appliances, though, if you can do so quickly and safely.
2. Remove Fire Blanket from the Case
Remove the fire blanket from its case by pulling shortly down on the tabs provided. Holding the sheet with two hands, unfold the fire blanket by shaking it until it is fully extended.
3. Protect Yourself with the Blanket
Whenever you use a fire blanket, you must shield yourself from the fire with the sheet. Hold the blanket in front of yourself, holding the tabs facing you. Holding the sheet from behind with the tags will help to protect your hands from the fire.
4. Extinguishing a Small Fire
To extinguish a small fire, like a pan fire, place the fire blanket over the burning object. Do not throw the sheet because you might miss your target or even spread the flames. Gently place the blanket over the fire top first. Do not flick the bottom of the sheet over the fire in the way that you might make a bed. If you try to place the bottom of the blanket over the fire first, the flames might get funneled towards you.
5. Extinguishing Burning Clothes
If someone’s clothes are alight, wrap the blanket around the person and have them roll on the ground. The individual must lay down on the floor so that the flames do not reach the person’s face.
6. Leave the Blanket on for 15-30 Minutes
In the case of a pan fire, you should leave the fire blanket laying over the pan for thirty minutes. Removing the blanket too soon may reignite the flame. You will also need to leave the pan for about an hour to allow it to cool down.
7. Call 911 If you Need To
Time is of the essence in any type of fire. So, if you cannot extinguish the fire quickly yourself, do not hesitate to call 911. You must also call for an ambulance if anyone has been severely burned in a fire.
Video and infographic courtesy of 1st Attendance Fire Safety Training.
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