A fire blanket is a sheet of flame-resistant material that can be used to smother small fires or protect people from radiant heat. Fire blankets are commonly used in kitchens, workplaces, schools, and other places where there is a risk of fire. They are especially effective for extinguishing cooking oil fires, clothing fires, and electrical fires.
But how do you choose the right fire blanket for your needs? What are the global standards and certifications that you should look for when buying a fire blanket? And how do you use and maintain a fire blanket properly? In this article, we will answer these questions and more, so you can make an informed decision and stay safe in case of a fire emergency.
- Fire blankets are made of different materials and coatings, such as glass fiber, cotton, asbestos, aluminum, acrylic, and silicone.
- Fire blankets should meet global standards and certifications for fire safety, such as BS EN 1869:2019, AS/NZS 3504:2006, AS 2444-2001, and BSI.
- Fire blankets should be installed in accessible locations, such as near stoves, ovens, microwaves, fireplaces, heaters, and electrical appliances.
- Fire blankets should be inspected regularly for damage, wear, and tear, and replaced if necessary.
- Fire blankets should be used correctly by following the instructions on the package or container.
Global Standards and Certifications for Fire Blankets
Fire blankets are not all created equal. Some fire blankets may be more effective, durable, and reliable than others. To ensure that you buy a high-quality fire blanket that meets the minimum requirements for fire safety, you should look for the following global standards and certifications:
- BS EN 1869:2019: This is the British Standard for fire blankets for single use. It specifies the requirements for fire blankets primarily used for extinguishing cooking oil fires and fires involving personal clothing. It also includes tests for electrical conductivity and small contained Class B fires using heptane. Fire blankets that comply with this standard should have a label with the BS EN 1869:2019 mark.
- AS/NZS 3504:2006: This is the Australian/New Zealand Standard for fire blankets. It specifies the requirements for fire blankets intended to extinguish small fires in domestic or commercial premises. It also includes tests for flammability, thermal resistance, strength, durability, and performance. Fire blankets that comply with this standard should have a label with the AS/NZS 3504:2006 mark.
- AS 2444-2001: This is the Australian Standard for the selection of portable fire extinguishers and fire blankets. It provides guidance on how to choose the appropriate type and size of fire extinguisher and fire blanket for different fire risks. It also covers the installation, location, signage, inspection, maintenance, and use of fire extinguishers and fire blankets. Fire blankets that comply with this standard should have a label with the AS 2444-2001 mark.
- BSI: This is the British Standards Institution, which is a leading organization for testing and certification of fire products. BSI offers certification schemes for various types of fire products, including fire blankets. BSI certification ensures that fire blankets meet the relevant standards and regulations for quality, safety, performance, and reliability. Fire blankets that are certified by BSI should have a label with the BSI Kitemark or CE mark.
By choosing a fire blanket that meets these global standards and certifications, you can be confident that you are buying a product that has been tested and verified by independent experts. You can also avoid buying counterfeit or substandard products that may not work properly or even cause more harm than good in case of a fire.
Types of Fire Blanket Materials and Coatings
Fire blankets are made of different materials and coatings, depending on their intended use and performance. Some common types of fire blanket materials and coatings are:
- Glass fiber: This is the most common material used for fire blankets, as it has excellent fire resistance and thermal insulation properties. Glass fiber is woven from fine glass fibers, which are then coated with a fire-resistant material, such as aluminum, acrylic, or silicone. Glass fiber fire blankets can withstand temperatures up to 550°C and are suitable for extinguishing cooking oil fires and electrical fires.
- Cotton: This is a natural material that has good fire resistance and comfort properties. Cotton is woven from natural cotton fibers, which are then treated with a fire-resistant chemical, such as boron or ammonium phosphate. Cotton fire blankets can withstand temperatures up to 250°C and are suitable for extinguishing clothing fires and protecting people from heat and flames.
- Asbestos: This is an old material that was once widely used for fire blankets, but is now banned in many countries due to its health hazards. Asbestos is a mineral that has excellent fire resistance and durability properties. Asbestos fire blankets can withstand temperatures up to 1000°C and are suitable for extinguishing high-temperature fires, such as metal fires. However, asbestos fire blankets can release harmful fibers into the air when damaged or disturbed, which can cause serious respiratory diseases and cancers. Therefore, asbestos fire blankets should be avoided and replaced with safer alternatives.
- Aluminum: This is a metal that has good fire resistance and reflectivity properties. Aluminum is used as a coating for fire blankets, usually over glass fiber or cotton. Aluminum fire blankets can reflect up to 95% of radiant heat and are suitable for protecting people from heat and flames. However, aluminum fire blankets can conduct electricity and are not suitable for extinguishing electrical fires.
- Acrylic: This is a synthetic material that has good fire resistance and color retention properties. Acrylic is used as a coating for fire blankets, usually over glass fiber or cotton. Acrylic fire blankets can resist fading and discoloration due to exposure to sunlight and are suitable for indoor and outdoor use. However, acrylic fire blankets can melt at high temperatures and are not suitable for extinguishing high-temperature fires.
- Silicone: This is a synthetic material that has good fire resistance and flexibility properties. Silicone is used as a coating for fire blankets, usually over glass fiber or cotton. Silicone fire blankets can resist cracking and peeling due to exposure to moisture and chemicals and are suitable for harsh environments. However, silicone fire blankets can be slippery and difficult to handle when wet.
When choosing a fire blanket, you should consider the type of material and coating that best suits your needs and preferences. You should also check the label or package of the fire blanket for the specifications, such as the size, weight, thickness, temperature rating, performance rating, and instructions.
How to Use and Maintain Fire Blankets
Fire blankets are easy to use and maintain if you follow some simple steps:
How to Use Fire Blankets
To use a fire blanket correctly, you should follow the instructions on the package or container of the fire blanket. However, here are some general steps that you can follow:
- Step 1: Locate the fire blanket in an accessible place near the potential source of fire, such as near stoves, ovens, microwaves, fireplaces, heaters, or electrical appliances.
- Step 2: Pull the tabs or strings on the package or container of the fire blanket to release it quickly.
- Step 3: Hold the fire blanket by the corners or edges with your hands protected by the hemmed edges or sleeves.
- Step 4: If the fire is small and contained in a pot, pan, or stovetop, carefully place the fire blanket over the fire source completely, covering it from all sides. Turn off the heat source if possible.
- Step 5: If the fire involves clothing or personal items on a person, wrap the person in the fire blanket completely, covering them from head to toe. Roll them on the ground if possible.
- Step 6: Leave the fire blanket in place until the fire is completely out and cool. Do not remove or disturb the fire blanket until it is safe to do so.
- Step 7: Call emergency services if necessary and seek medical attention if anyone is injured.
How to Maintain Fire Blankets
To maintain your fire blanket properly, you should follow these tips:
- Store your fire blanket in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight or heat sources.
- Inspect your fire blanket regularly for signs of damage, wear, or tear, such as holes, tears, frayed edges, stains, or discoloration.
- If your fire blanket becomes dirty, wash it in cold water and hang it up to dry. Do not use bleach, detergent, or fabric softener, as they may damage the fire-resistant properties of the fire blanket.
- Replace your fire blanket if it becomes damaged or if it has been used to extinguish a fire. Do not reuse a fire blanket that has been exposed to high temperatures or flames, as it may lose its effectiveness or pose a fire hazard.
- Dispose of your fire blanket safely and responsibly. Do not burn or bury your fire blanket, as it may release harmful substances into the environment. Follow the local regulations for disposing of fire products or contact the manufacturer or supplier for advice.
Fire blankets are a useful and versatile fire safety tool that can help you extinguish small fires or protect yourself from heat and flames. However, to choose the right fire blanket for your needs, you should look for the global standards and certifications that ensure the quality, safety, performance, and reliability of the fire blanket. You should also consider the type of material and coating that best suits your needs and preferences. Moreover, you should use and maintain your fire blanket properly by following the instructions and tips provided in this article. By doing so, you can make the most of your fire blanket and stay safe in case of a fire emergency.