Fire blankets are a small and cost-effective fire extinguishing device made from a retardant cloth material, with smaller blankets often being made from fibreglass which is sometimes combined with Kevlar. Fire safety is one of the most important elements in health and safety regulations. To comply with current regulations, all fire equipment must be properly installed, tested and maintained.
While fire extinguishers and hoses are often looked at as the main safety equipment in these situations, fire blankets are severely overlooked in their importance as they are intended to be used on a starting fire and can therefore prevent the spread or growth of the flame. A good quality fire blanket should be easily accessed and used, ensuring a small domestic or workplace fire does not turn into a life-threatening situation. Due to the ease of their deployment, they may be more suitable for use by those unfamiliar or unexperienced with fire extinguishers.
Blankets for small fires can be used in both the workplace or domestic environments, such as a kitchen. This is due to their compact size and the cases they are supplied in, which makes them easy to store. Depending on the environment in which they will be stored, fire blankets are available in rigid cases or soft cases, and are often found next to other suitable flame smothering devices or alarms making them easy to find in critical situations.
As with any fire, it is important to remember the triangle of factors that feed a fire: oxygen, fuel and heat. Fire blankets can be used in the early stages of a fire to kill it by removing oxygen. This is done by firmly sealing the blanket around the fire, preventing any oxygen from getting to the flame. Situations such as kitchen or chip pan fires, waste bin fires or even clothing fires can be handled with a fire blanket when used correctly. In the event of a clothing fire, the blanket must be wrapped tightly around the area of the body where flames are present.
Fire blankets are Kitemarked and are BSI (British Standards Institution) manufactured to BSEN1869:1997 meaning the blankets are not re-usable and are intended for use by only one person.