Fire blankets are sheets of woven fire-resistant material that can be used to smother small fires or wrap around a person whose clothing is on fire. They are simple and effective fire-fighting aids that can be useful in case of a fire on boats and offshore facilities, where water or other extinguishing agents may not be available or suitable.

Fire Blankets in Marine Settings: Use in boats and offshore facilities.

Key Takeaways

  • Fire blankets are suitable for Class F fires involving cooking oils, as well as waste bin fires and clothing fires.
  • Fire blankets should be located in or near the kitchen or other potential fire hazards, but not too close to prevent access in case of a fire.
  • Fire blankets should be tested to meet the current standard BS EN 1869:1997 and feature a BSi Kitemark. They should also have a fire blanket ID sign displayed above them.
  • Fire blankets should be commissioned when they are first installed and serviced annually to check for any signs of damage or wear. They should be replaced immediately if they are used or damaged.
  • Fire blankets should only be used for small fires that can be covered by the blanket. If the fire is larger or the flames come through the blanket, evacuation and emergency services should be alerted.

Types and Sizes of Fire Blankets

Fire blankets for home or commercial use are usually made from woven fibreglass and feature a specialist fire retardant coating. They are folded inside an enclosure (usually plastic moulded) and feature grab handles that allow the quick release of the fire blanket.

Fire blankets are available in a range of sizes, commonly in the range of 1.0m x 1.0m through to 1.8 x 1.8m. The size of the fire blanket should match the potential size of the fire, as the blanket needs to cover the entire fire in order to smother and extinguish it. The table below shows some examples of suitable sizes for different types of fires.

Type of fireRecommended size
Baking tray or frying pan fire1.0m x 1.0m
Waste bin or clothing fire1.2m x 1.2m
Commercial kitchen or workshop fire1.2m x 1.8m

Standards and Regulations for Fire Blankets

Fire blankets should comply with BS EN 1869:1997, which is the current standard for fire blankets in the UK. This standard specifies the performance requirements, test methods, and marking instructions for fire blankets. Fire blankets that meet this standard should feature a BSi Kitemark, which is a quality assurance mark that indicates that the product has been independently tested and certified by the British Standards Institution.

Fire blankets may also feature the BAFE mark, which is an independent register of quality fire service providers. BAFE accredits companies that provide fire protection services, such as installation, commissioning, and maintenance of fire blankets.

Fire blankets located in public or commercial settings must also have a fire blanket ID sign displayed above them to conform with the Fire Safety Order 2005. This order requires that all premises have adequate and appropriate fire-fighting equipment and signs. Fire blanket ID signs are usually red with white text and symbols, and indicate the location and instructions for using the fire blanket.

How to Use a Fire Blanket

To use a fire blanket, follow these steps:

  • Turn off the heat source if possible.
  • Pull the tapes downwards to release the fire blanket from its container.
  • Wrap the corners of the blanket around your hands to protect them from the fire.
  • Place the blanket over the object that is on fire, making sure to cover it completely.
  • Leave the blanket in place until the fire is out and the object is cool.

If you need to use a fire blanket to wrap around a person whose clothing is on fire, follow these steps:

  • Tell the person to stop, drop, and roll on the ground to smother the flames.
  • Pull the tapes downwards to release the fire blanket from its container.
  • Wrap the blanket around the person, covering them from head to toe.
  • Call for emergency services and seek medical attention.

How to Maintain a Fire Blanket

Fire blankets should be maintained regularly to ensure they are in good condition and ready for use in case of a fire. The following tips can help you keep your fire blanket in optimal shape:

  • Check your fire blanket visually at least once a month for any signs of damage, wear, or dirt.
  • Clean your fire blanket gently with a damp cloth if it is dirty. Do not use any detergents or chemicals that may affect its performance.
  • Store your fire blanket in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
  • Replace your fire blanket immediately if it is used or damaged. Do not attempt to repair or reuse a fire blanket that has been exposed to fire.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for when to replace your fire blanket. Some fire blankets have an expiry date, while others may last for up to 7 years from the date of purchase.

Fire blankets are essential fire safety items that can save lives and property in case of a fire on boats and offshore facilities. By choosing the right type and size of fire blanket, complying with the standards and regulations, and following the proper usage and maintenance instructions, you can ensure that your fire blanket is effective and reliable.

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