6 Steps to Use a Fire Blanket Properly
Fire is something no one wants to experience. It’s damaging, it’s life changing and it can be deadly. But there are ways to protect your home, your company and yourself. Fire blankets are a great tool for putting out small fires at your home or business. Here are a few tips on how to properly use your fire blanket.
1. Store the fire blanket in an easy to access spot
It’s important to keep your fire blanket in a place that’s easy to access in the event you need to use it. A metal box, similar to a first aid kit, is a great idea for this. It can be mounted on a wall or inside a cabinet and is easy to open to grab your blanket quickly. At home, keep one in the kitchen and garage as this is where a lot of small fires start. At the office, keep one in the kitchen area and common hallways so staff can quickly get to it should the need arise.
2. Pull the tabs on the packet to release the blanket
Fire blankets are easy to open. They are usually kept in small packages with pull tabs on the bottom. To release the blanket, just pull on the two tabs and the packet easily opens.
3. Protect your hands and turn off any heat sources
Before smothering a fire in a small appliance, wrap the corners of the blanket over your hands. This ensures you’re protected from the flames and heat, reducing the risk you’ll suffer serious burns. Before dealing with the fire, make sure you turn off any heat source including items like stoves or space heaters.
4. Cover the fire for at least 15 minutes to ensure it runs out of oxygen
Fire can’t survive without oxygen. Covering a small fire with a fire blanket for at least 15 minutes is usually enough time for the fire to run out of oxygen and put out the flames. If you’re not sure, leave the fire covered longer.
Throwing the blanket over the far side can send flames up over the edge of the blanket and make the situation worse. Make sure to gently place the fire blanket over the flames, starting at the point closest to you. And don’t worry if some smoke comes through the blanket. It doesn’t mean the blanket is on fire and is completely normal for some smoke to permeate through.
5. Cover the blanket in water and dispose of it
Once the fire is completely extinguished and the fire blanket has cooled, it’s a good idea to run water over it to ensure the blanket is completely cooled off. Dispose of the fire blanket and NEVER try to re-use it. Fire blankets are not intended for multiple uses and will no longer be effective once they’ve been used.
6. Get help
Fire can quickly get out of hand. If you can’t immediately smother the fire, call 911 and ask for assistance. Also make sure anyone affected by the smoke or flames receives medical assistance as soon as possible.
Don’t be afraid to call for help for even a small fire as they can quickly get large and out of control.