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As most people know, a fire blanket is a sheet of flame retardant material designed to extinguish small fires as they start. Fire blankets, for use in kitchens and around the home, should be made of either fibreglass or woven-nylon coated with silicone-based flame retardant. The fire blanket is folded and stored in a quick-release container which means it can be pulled out and placed over a fire to smother it.
At a recent trade show, a question we were frequently asked by people who had had a fire blanket for a several years, was how they could check that it was still fit for use.
So how do you ensure that a fire blanket is still effective?
The answer is by making a regular visual inspection.
Fire blankets should be visually inspected regularly – ideally monthly; although Fire legislation in England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland suggests that good practice is to check whether a blanket has been used or damaged on a weekly basis. In the case of a commercial property, the building’s Responsible Person must also ensure that the fire blanket/s are checked by the fire equipment maintenance provider at least once every 12 months.
When carrying out a visual inspection of a fire blanket, you should ensure that*:
• It is unobstructed and visible. Kitchen furniture and equipment should not block easy access to the fire blanket.
• That the blanket is securely mounted to the wall in the pack or container with the pull-down straps positioned approximately 1.5 metres from the floor.
• The fire blanket container is not obviously damaged; there is no wear or damage to the fire blanket and it is clean and dust free and that the pull-down straps are visible and undamaged.
• Following the manufacturer’s instructions check that you can easily release the blanket from the container and then reassemble it according to the folding instructions.
• The instructions for use are clean and legible and face outwards.
• You check the age of the fire blanket - consider replacing if it is more than seven years old.
The responsible person or maintenance company should record the results of these visual inspections and arrange for any necessary corrective action, such as providing a new fire blanket.
Fire Depot recommends using fire blankets manufactured from premium K100 glass fibre cloth and kitemark certified BS EN 1869. Our range of Firechief fire blankets also carry a 5-year guarantee for peace of mind.
Life is precious and property and assets matter, so at Fire Depot we make it our mission to provide quality, approved fire protection equipment and to share fire safety advice and fire equipment recommendations. Visit www.firedepot.co.uk for more fire safety product information or call us on 0330 999 2233 to speak to our friendly team of experts.
*According to the Code of Practice for the Commissioning and Maintenance of Fire Blankets manufactured to BS EN 1869 as issued by the Fire Industry Association (FIA)