The Fire Service are called out to over 20,000 kitchen fires every year. These fires cause untold damage, put lives at risk and they can get out of control in just a few seconds! The question is, should you have a fire blanket, manufactured to the current British Standards, in your home or office kitchen?
Warning About Fake Fire Blankets
It has been uncovered by the BBC programme Fake Britain that thousands of cheap fire blankets are being sold online. Many of these will be untested, making false claims and could be putting lives at risk. What can appear to be a quality product online, could begin to look very questionable when it arrives.
The programme, which has recently been repeated can be viewed online, highlights one case where a consumer bought a seemingly legitimate fire blanket online and later discovered some worrying features that made him question the quality and safety of that fire blanket.
It was noted that:
- The packaging of the product looked very unusual. Where you would expect to see a manufacturer, a country of origin, there was nothing there.
- The wording of instructions on the box were misspelled with grammatical errors
- The fire blanket had no label containing the manufacturer information, despite the outer packaging including a standards number.
What to look out for:
In Britain there are no compulsory standards for fire blankets, but there is a voluntary European standard that they can be tested to.
Genuine fire blankets that meet these standards are proven to supress a fire within seconds, cutting the fire of oxygen and wouldn’t reignite if the blanket was removed after 17 minutes.
On the blanket itself you should have a label attached relating to the manufacturers name, the manufacturers address and a model reference. If it doesn’t have this, this would not have been approved by British Standards.
Fire Blankets in Work Kitchens
With regard to fire blankets a “Responsible Person” should carry out visual inspections of all fire blankets regularly – at least each month. When circumstances require, inspections should be carried out more frequently.
Fire legislation in England & Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and its associated Guidance Notes suggest that good practice is to determine whether the fire blanket has been used and to check for damage on a weekly basis.
When carrying out these visual inspections, it should be ensured that:
- each fire blanket is correctly located in the designated place
- each fire blanket is unobstructed and visible
- the operating instructions of each fire blanket are clean, legible, and face outwards
- each fire blanket container is not obviously damaged and that the pull cords are visible and undamaged
- the tamper indicators of each fire blanket, where fitted, are not broken or missing.
The Responsible Person should record the results of these visual inspections and arrange for corrective action, where necessary, or by calling FTS Safety Solutions, in the event of doubt, the Responsible Person should arrange for us to examine the fire blanket.
Safety is paramount and it’s important to purchase your fire blanket from a trusted source.
What to do in the event of a fire
In the first instance in the event of a fire you should follow these simple steps: –
- Remain calm.
- Raise the alarm by operating the nearest fire alarm call point.
- Evacuate to a safe place.
- DO NOT USE THE LIFT (unless it has been designated as a refuge or part of the emergency escape route).
- Only Trained personnel should attempt to tackle the fire and only if appropriate.
- Where appropriate check toilets and close windows and doors on the way out.
- If have responsibilities for assisting persons with Personal Evacuation Plans respond as required following the actions as identified in the Plan.
- Leave the building by the nearest exit.
- Do not stop or return to collect personal belongings.
- Ensure visitors are escorted from the building to the assembly point.
- Close any doors en-route without delaying your escape.
- You must remain at the assembly place, and return to the building only when authorised to do so.
Until next time… stay safe!