Fire blankets are simple yet powerful devices that can help you fight small fires, shield yourself from flames, and save money in the long run. In this article, we will explain what fire blankets are, how they work, and why they are a smart investment for your home or business.
What are fire blankets and how do they work?
A fire blanket is a sheet of woven fire-resistant material, usually made of fiberglass or aramid fibers, that can be used to smother small fires or wrap around a person on fire. Fire blankets work by cutting off the oxygen supply to the fire, one of the three elements that a fire needs to burn (the other two being heat and fuel). By depriving the fire of oxygen, the fire blanket helps to extinguish the flames quickly and safely.
Fire blankets are typically packaged in a quick-release format for easy deployment. They are stored in a small, compact container, and when needed, you simply pull the tabs to release the blanket. You can then place the blanket over the fire or wrap it around yourself or someone else.
Fire blankets can be used for a variety of purposes related to fire safety, such as:
- Extinguishing small fires: A fire blanket can be used to smother small fires before they become unmanageable. This is especially useful for kitchen fires, such as grease or oil fires, which can get out of control quickly and are unsafe to put out with water.
- Protection during fire escapes: If you need to move through a fire or flames to escape, a fire blanket can provide a protective shield. You can wrap the blanket around yourself to help shield your body from the heat and flames.
- Putting out clothing fires: If your clothes catch fire, a fire blanket can be used to extinguish the flames. You should stop, drop, and roll, and then use the blanket to smother and extinguish any remaining flames.
- In emergency first aid: In some cases, a fire blanket can also be used to treat burns by covering the burned area, which can help keep it clean and protect it from further damage. However, this is a secondary use, and the blanket should not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment.
- In professional settings: Fire blankets are also used in professional settings, such as laboratories or industrial workplaces, where there is a risk of small fires.
Why are fire blankets a smart investment?
Fire blankets are beneficial for several reasons. Here are some of the economic benefits of investing in fire blankets:
- They can prevent fire damage: Fire blankets can help you avoid costly repairs or replacements of your property or belongings by preventing small fires from spreading or causing further damage. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the average direct property damage per home structure fire in 2023 was $23,704. By using a fire blanket to put out a small fire quickly, you can save yourself from paying for such expenses.
- They can reduce fire-related costs: Fire blankets can also help you save money on other costs associated with fires, such as insurance premiums, medical bills, legal fees, or fines. For example, if you use a fire blanket to put out a kitchen fire instead of a fire extinguisher, you can avoid the mess and expense of cleaning up the chemical residue left by the extinguisher. You can also avoid potential penalties for false alarms or misuse of emergency services if you handle the fire yourself with a fire blanket.
- They can protect you from injuries or lawsuits: Fire blankets can also protect you from physical harm or legal liability by reducing the risk of injuries or deaths caused by fires. According to the NFPA, there were 3,700 civilian fire deaths and 16,600 civilian fire injuries in 2023. By using a fire blanket to shield yourself or others from flames, you can prevent serious burns or other injuries that may require hospitalization or surgery. You can also avoid potential lawsuits or claims from others who may have been harmed by the fire if you had not acted promptly with a fire blanket.
How to choose and use a fire blanket?
To get the most out of your fire blanket investment, you need to choose the right one for your needs and use it correctly. Here are some tips on how to do so:
- Choose the right size: Fire blankets come in different sizes depending on their intended use. The standard size for home use is 1 meter by 1 meter (about 3 feet by 3 feet), which is suitable for most kitchen fires or clothing fires. However, if you want more coverage or protection for larger fires or areas, you may want to opt for bigger sizes, such as 1.2 meters by 1.8 meters (about 4 feet by 6 feet) or 1.8 meters by 1.8 meters (about 6 feet by 6 feet).
- Choose the right material: Fire blankets are usually made of fiberglass or aramid fibers, which are both fire-resistant and durable. However, some fire blankets may also have a layer of fire-retardant film or silicone coating to enhance their performance and longevity. You may want to look for these features if you want a higher-quality fire blanket that can withstand repeated use or exposure to high temperatures.
- Choose the right location: Fire blankets should be stored in a convenient and accessible location where you can easily reach them in case of a fire emergency. You may want to place them near potential fire sources, such as stoves, ovens, fireplaces, or electrical outlets. You may also want to have more than one fire blanket in different rooms or areas of your home or workplace for added safety.
- Use the right technique: Fire blankets should be used with caution and care to avoid injuries or damage. Here are some basic steps on how to use a fire blanket correctly:
- Pull the tabs to release the blanket from its container.
- Hold the blanket by the corners and wrap it around your hands to protect them from the heat.
- Place the blanket over the fire, covering it completely and leaving no gaps for air to enter.
- Turn off the heat source if possible and leave the blanket in place until the fire is out and the area is cool.
- If the fire is too large or out of control, call 911 or your local emergency number and evacuate the area safely.
- If the fire is on a person, wrap the blanket around them and roll them on the ground to smother the flames. Call 911 or your local emergency number and seek medical attention.
Fire blankets are versatile and effective tools for fire safety. They can help you prevent fire damage, reduce fire-related costs, and protect yourself and your loved ones from flames. By investing in fire blankets, you can enjoy long-term savings and protection from one of the most common and dangerous hazards in your home or workplace.