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How to Use a Fire Blanket

What are Fire Blankets?

Fire blankets are ideal for putting out small burning pans, so it’s recommended to keep one in the kitchen and learn how to use it correctly and confidently.

When cooking, if a pan catches light under no circumstances should you pour water onto the flames. This will result in the fire spreading out rapidly, often with devastating consequences. Therefore if you decide to tackle a pan fire, the most safe and effective method is using a fire blanket.

Fire blankets are made out of glass fibre fabric, with a thin fire resistant coating. They work by stopping the airflow to the fire, starving it of Oxygen – one of the vital ingredients that fire needs in order to keep burning. They are a much safer option than the traditional wet tea-towel approach, which since 2008 has been advised against in government fire safety campaigns.

Make Sure Blanket is Correct Size

Before using a fire blanket, firstly you have to judge if it safe to fight the fire. This will depend on whether the blanket is big enough to cover the full area of the fire and therefore cut off the Oxygen supply to the flames. As always in the case of fire, you should use caution and if there’s any doubt that you can put out the fire safely, shut the kitchen door behind you, get out and dial 999 straight away.

Step by Step: Using a Fire Blanket

  • Turn off the source of heat if it is safe to do so, if not do this as soon as possible after the flames have been extinguished.
  • Pull the fire blanket out of its container and stretch it out fully, making sure that it covers the size of the fire.
  • Keep the blanket at arm’s length and approach the fire – looking over the top of the blanket, so you have a clear view of what you are doing.
  • Cover the burning pan, completely smothering the flames.
  • Leave the blanket in place for at least 30 minutes to an hour before removing to avoid re-ignition.
  • After putting the blanket on the flames – leave the room, shutting the door behind you and call the fire brigade. They will need to make sure everything is safe before you can re-enter the building, so this is important even if the fire has been put out.

For fires in commercial kitchens it is also recommended to have a wet chemical fire extinguisher as these are the only type of fire extinguisher designed specifically for use on fires in the kitchen involving large volumes of cooking oil as in deep fat fryers.

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