Fire blankets can be used to smother Class A and B fires, particularly in situations where burning clothing and small fires involving flammable liquids, such as cooking pan fire, are involved. Heavy duty blankets can be used for protection during hot work such as welding.
Blankets need to be provided and used with care. It is important that the user wraps the corner or edge of the blanket over their hands to protect them from the radiant heat of the fire, and that it is kept between the user and the fire to protect the user from the heat.
The blanket should be placed carefully over the burning container or wrapped around the person with burning clothes. If the fire is in a cooking pan, the heat should be turned off — if this can be achieved without placing the person using the blanket in any danger. The provision of fire blankets should follow from the risk assessment.
Except for smaller catering establishments, it is normally safer to use appropriate fire extinguishers (such as those designed for oil fires) than fire blankets.
There are a number of fixed fire-fighting facilities available, including:
- fire hydrants and rising mains
- hose reel systems
- sprinkler systems
- water mist and fogging systems
- gas systems (sometimes referred to as “clean agent systems”)
- foam systems
- dry powder.
Fixed fire protection systems will usually be required/are advisable:
- where the usual requirements of the building regulations (with respect to means of escape or compartmentation) cannot be met due to reasons of practicability, or where a relaxation of those requirements is sought
- in high buildings, or buildings with deep basements, where fixed fire protection systems are required to assist the fire brigade in the protection of life
- in any building where the results of a fire risk assessment show that life safety may be compromised by an outbreak of fire that is not extinguished promptly
- in any building where it is necessary to provide compensation for some other fire precautionary measure that may be considered to require reinforcement, eg where it is not considered practicable to provide the required level of fire separation
- on the instructions of the insurers for the building (some insurers may be persuaded to offer a premium reduction for the installation of an approved system)