- A fire blanket is a safety device made of flame-resistant material that can be used to smother small fires or wrap around a person on fire.
- Fire blankets are especially useful for kitchen fires, where most home fires start, and for children, who are more vulnerable to fire injuries and deaths.
- Fire safety education for children should include teaching them what fire blankets are, how to use them, and where to find them in case of a fire emergency.
- Fire safety education for children should also cover other topics such as smoke alarms, fire escape plans, stop-drop-and-roll techniques, and calling 911.
- Parents and teachers can use various resources and tools to make fire safety education fun and engaging for children, such as videos, games, activities, and lesson plans.
What are Fire Blankets and How Do They Work?
A fire blanket is a safety device designed to extinguish small fires. They are typically made of a flame-resistant material such as fiberglass or aramid fibers and are often used in kitchens and other areas where small fires can break out.
Fire blankets work by smothering a fire, cutting off its oxygen supply. When a fire blanket is placed over a small fire, it creates an airtight seal, depriving the fire of oxygen and smothering the flames. Fire blankets can also be used to wrap around a person on fire, smothering the flames and preventing further injury².
Fire blankets have several advantages over other fire extinguishing methods, such as:
- They are easy to use and do not require any training or maintenance.
- They do not create any mess or damage like water or foam extinguishers.
- They do not pose any health or environmental risks like chemical extinguishers.
- They can be reused if they are not damaged by the fire.
Fire blankets are usually stored in a plastic container or pouch that can be hung on a wall or placed in a drawer. They have two black straps or tabs that can be pulled to release the blanket from the container. The blanket should be large enough to cover the entire fire or the person on fire.
To use a fire blanket, follow these steps:
- Hang the blanket in an accessible location near potential fire sources, such as stoves, ovens, microwaves, candles, etc.
- Pull the black straps or tabs to release the blanket from the container.
- Hold the blanket like a shield between you and the fire, keeping your hands behind the blanket.
- Gently cover the fire with the blanket, making sure there are no gaps for air to enter.
- Leave the blanket covering the fire until it is completely out. Do not lift or move the blanket until it is cool.
- If the fire involves electrical appliances or wires, turn off the power supply before covering the fire with the blanket.
- If the fire involves flammable liquids or gases, do not use water or any other liquid to put out the fire. Use only a fire blanket or a dry chemical extinguisher.
- If the person’s clothing is on fire, wrap them with the blanket and make them stop, drop, and roll to put out the flames.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number for help.
- Dispose of the blanket after use if it is damaged by the fire.
Why are Fire Blankets Important for Fire Safety Education for Children?
Fire is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury and death among children. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2020, there were an estimated 365,500 home fires in the United States, resulting in 2,770 civilian deaths, 11,200 civilian injuries, and $8.1 billion in direct property damage. Of these, 27% of the home fire deaths and 10% of the home fire injuries involved children under the age of 15.
Children are more vulnerable to fire injuries and deaths for several reasons, such as:
- They have less experience and knowledge about fire hazards and how to prevent and escape from fires.
- They have less physical ability and mobility to escape from fires, especially if they are trapped or asleep.
- They have thinner skin and more body surface area relative to their weight, which makes them more susceptible to burns and heat loss.
- They may be curious or fascinated by fire and may play with matches, lighters, candles, or other fire sources.
Therefore, it is crucial to educate children about fire safety and provide them with the necessary skills and tools to prevent and protect themselves from fires. One of these tools is a fire blanket, which can be a lifesaver in case of a small fire or a person on fire.
Fire blankets are especially useful for kitchen fires, where most home fires start. According to the NFPA, cooking equipment was the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries, accounting for 49% of home fires and 44% of home fire injuries in 2020. Fire blankets can be used to smother grease fires, oven fires, microwave fires, or other cooking-related fires that may occur in the kitchen.
Fire blankets are also important for children because they can be used to wrap around a person on fire, which is one of the most common types of fire injuries among children. According to the American Burn Association (ABA), in 2019, there were an estimated 40,000 hospitalizations related to burn injuries in the United States, of which 15% involved children under the age of 15. Of these, 43% were caused by direct flame contact.
Fire blankets can help reduce the severity of burn injuries by smothering the flames and preventing further damage to the skin and tissues. They can also help prevent shock and hypothermia by keeping the person warm until medical help arrives.
How to Teach Children about Fire Prevention and Protection?
Fire safety education for children should include teaching them what fire blankets are, how to use them, and where to find them in case of a fire emergency. However, fire safety education should not be limited to fire blankets. It should also cover other topics such as smoke alarms, fire escape plans, stop-drop-and-roll techniques, and calling 911.
Parents and teachers can use various resources and tools to make fire safety education fun and engaging for children. Some examples are:
- Videos: Videos can be a great way to demonstrate how to use a fire blanket or other fire safety devices. For example, this video shows how to use a fire blanket to put out a kitchen fire. This video shows how to use a fire blanket to wrap around a person on fire.
- Games: Games can be a great way to test children’s knowledge and skills about fire safety. For example, this game lets children practice how to escape from a home fire. This game lets children learn about different types of fires and how to put them out.
- Activities: Activities can be a great way to reinforce children’s learning and understanding of fire safety. For example, this activity provides a printable sheet with tips on how to use a fire blanket. This activity provides a list of fun and educational activities for kids on various fire safety topics.
- Lesson Plans: Lesson plans can be a great way to structure and organize children’s learning about fire safety. For example, this lesson plan provides a detailed guide on how to teach children about fire blankets. This lesson plan provides a comprehensive curriculum on fire safety for grades K-5.
Fire safety education for children is essential to prevent and protect them from fire injuries and deaths. Fire blankets are one of the important tools that can help children in case of a fire emergency. By teaching children what fire blankets are, how to use them, and where to find them, parents and teachers can help children become more aware and prepared for fire safety.