Fire blankets are an often overlooked home firefighting tool, but sometimes it is no less important than a fire extinguisher.
A fire blanket is a flame retardant piece of safety equipment that will keep a small fire from growing larger and stop that blaze right at its source. These blankets can withstand temperatures up to 900 degrees fahrenheit (or 482 degrees celsius).
It is also an effective tool for people who are not well-trained with fire extinguishers (though it is recommended that everyone learns how to effectively use an extinguisher). However, a fire blanket can be virtually useless if the user does not know how to safely use it. Here are the necessary steps to properly use a fire blanket:
1. Pull the fire blanket out of the wall-hanging package
Fire blankets are kept in the house in small bags that hang on the wall with two pull tabs. To take the blanket out of the package, pull on the tabs to break the package open and get the fire blanket. It is important to pull sharply to get the blanket out.
2. Cover and protect your hands before using the blanket
This is an essential step in using the fire blanket since it is important to keep your hands safe. Using thermal or flame retardant gloves to keep burns at bay. If there are no fire resistant gloves in the house, then try to cover your hands with the corners of the blanket, ensuring that no part of your hand is exposed when approaching the fire.
3. Smother the fire with the blanket and leave it on the flame
Remain calm and lay the blanket down over the fire, rushing this step is ineffective. Starting with the side of the flames closest to you, move in towards the center of the flames. Leave the blanket on the fire for about 15 minutes to be sure that the blanket can snuff out the flames. Do not lift the blanket until it feels cool.
4. Ensure that the source of the fire is turned off or closed off
If the fire has a source (for example, a stovetop fire), ensure that the source is turned off and stopped before you wait for the blanket to do its work. This will keep the fire contained and will ensure that it is stopped as quickly as possible.
5. Inform the fire department
It is important to call the fire department and inform them of the event that took place. It is possible that the fire may have been started by faulty electronics and it helps to get their opinion on future fire prevention.
6. Dispose and replace fire blanket after use
After using the fire blanket, you must dispose of it and replace it as soon as possible. It is not a good idea to use the same blanket twice since it will not be as effective. Locate a safety equipment supplier and purchase a new fire blanket.