Fire blankets

These are fire-resistant sheets of material that you can use to cover a fire to cut its supply of oxygen. They can also be wrapped around a person whose clothes are on fire.

Fire blankets are quick to use, easy to maintain and cheaper than fire extinguishers. However, to use them, you need to get close to the fire – meaning your hands will be particularly at risk of burning. You can also only use them on very small and contained fires - like chip pan fires on the cooker. In addition, it is likely that you will only get one go at putting out the fire. If you don’t put it out, you won’t be able to retrieve the blanket.

They're ideal to keep in the kitchen, but they are not good for general use. If you get one, you should make sure it conforms to British Standard BS 6575 and bear these points in mind:

  • it should be easy to get to in an emergency
  • never put it away in a cupboard
  • it shouldn't be mounted above a cooker or heater
  • a fire blanket is most useful in the kitchen