SPECIFYING FIRE BLANKETS
Fire Blankets have been added to the Masterspec hand held fire fighting equipment section 7381 which is now called 7381 PORTABLE FIRE EXTINGUISHERS & FIRE BLANKETS.
Fire Blankets are useful for extinguishing small fires in a container (for Class A, Class B or Class F fires to NZS 4503). They can also be wrapped around a person to extinguish clothes that have caught fire or help protect a person exposed to fire. However, traditionally they are often found in commercial kitchens, as they are ideal for oil or fat fires in pans or small fryers (Class F fires). These types of fires although not frequent are relatively common, and could become large fires if not dealt with quickly. The use of a Class F fire extinguisher although affective could create a mess and would probably close the kitchen for a while. Water or the wrong type of fire extinguisher can be very dangerous with oil/fat fires as it can cause an explosive reaction. So the Fire Blanket is inexpensive, safe, convenient and expedient for these situations. However, an extinguisher would still be recommended or required, particularly for larger or different types of fires.
Fire Blankets are manufactured to AS/NZS 3504 from 2 layers of woven glass fibre fabric and an inner layer of fire retardant film and are packed in a custom built holder. They come in a range of sizes but the most common commercial size is 1.2m x 1.8m. When they are used they work simply by cutting off the oxygen supply and smothering the fire. They are used once then discarded, as their performance could be impaired.
Installation of Fire Blankets and Fire Extinguishers is generally to NZS 4503. The Standard also provides information on types and when to use them, locations, signage, maintenance, etc.
Note; for larger deep fat fryers Fire Extinguishers should be provided, NZS 4503, Table 3.3, provides guidance on the rating of the extinguisher relative to the surface area and volume of the fat or oil. Deep fat fryers exceeding the table will require special advice/installations.
completefiresafety.net.au has produced this 6 minute video on how to use a fire blanket to extinguish a fat fire in the kitchen.