Date: Mon, 5 Dec 2011 16:37:37 -0500
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From: "Curtis, Martha" <mcurtis**At_Symbol_Here**NFPA.ORG>
Subject: Re: Use of a fire blanket
X-cc: "Ralph Stuart (rstuart**At_Symbol_Here**" ,
Ralph Stuart
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To the [DCHAS-L] Users Group,
    Please see Annex paragraph A. in the 2011 edition of NFPA 45, for information on the use of fire blankets in a lab.
    The 2011 edition of NFPA 45 is available for review on the NFPA webpage using the following link:
    Please post this information for the readers of the DCHAS List.
 Martha Curtis

Martha H. Curtis
Senior Chemical Specialist/Staff Liaison to NFPA 45
1 Batterymarch Park
Quincy, MAÂ  02169-7471
Phone: 617-984-7496
Fax: 617-984-7110
Email: mcurtis**At_Symbol_Here**

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-----Original Message-----
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Jeffrey Lewin
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 5:14 PM
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Use of a fire blanket

I don't have access to official NFPA documents but several safety blogs and at least one (presumably unofficial) reprint of the of Appendix A from "NFPA 45 Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories Using Chemicals, 2000 Edition"

states the following:

"A. Laboratory personnel should be thoroughly indoctrinated
in procedures to follow in cases of clothing fires. The
most important instruction, one that should be stressed until
it becomes second nature to all personnel, is to immediately
drop to the floor and roll. All personnel should recognize
that, in case of ignition of another personâ•˙s clothing, they
should immediately knock that person to the floor and roll
that person around to smother the flames. Too often a person
will panic and run if clothing ignites, resulting in more severe,
often fatal, burn injuries.

Fire-retardant or flame-resistant clothing is one option
available to help reduce the occurrence of clothing fires.
Refer to NFPA 1975, Standard on Station/Work Uniforms for Fire
and Emergency Services, for performance requirements and test
methods for fire-resistant clothing.

It should be emphasized that use of safety showers, fire
blankets, or fire extinguishers are of secondary importance.
These items should be used only when immediately at hand. It
should be recognized that rolling on the floor not only smothers
the fire but also helps to keep flames out of the victimâ•˙s
face, reducing inhalation of smoke."

Jeff Lewin
Departmental Laboratory Supervisor, CHO
Biological Sciences
Michigan Technological University
----- Original Message -----
From: "McGrath Edward J" 
Sent: Friday, December 2, 2011 2:03:18 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Use of a fire blanket

Dear Dr. Mowery:

Iâ•˙m unable to find specific recommendations against using a fire blanket in this manner, but I know Iâ•˙ve heard others mention these dangers. My understanding of proper fire blanket use is 1) To cover a fire in the immediate area before it spreads (if possible) or 2) to wrap up a non-burning person who must evacuate through a danger area (danger of burns).

You may want to contact a manufacturer of fire blankets with this question. If the dangers you mention are real, they would know better than anyone to avoid liability of their product.

Edward J. McGrath

Science Supervisor

Red Clay Consolidated School District

1502 Spruce Avenue

Wilmington, DE 19805

(302) 552-3768

"Fortune favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur

From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Barbara Mowery
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 12:46 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Use of a fire blanket

Good afternoon,

I have received the following question from a colleague-your input would be much appreciated.
"Hi, I have been receiving emails regarding the dangers associated with using fire blankets and I'm concluding that we should probably not use them to wrap up someone who might be on fire in one of our labs....

Fire blankets are valuable in labs for a variety of purposes. One of those does not happen to be wrapping yourself in them to extinguish your clothing fire. In addition to trapping the heat, the fire blanket creates a chimney effect and directs the hot, toxic gases, and flames into your face, breathing zone and lungs.

Whether you go to the shower or not depends on your distance. For anything more than 2-3 steps, please stop, drop, and roll. Someone else can get the blanket and use it to help smother the flames. Then, cool off in the shower.

Blankets can also be used for (1) shower modesty curtains, (2) wraps for after the shower, (3) a temporary stretcher, (4)to keep someone warm to avoid shock, (5) a pillow if the victim needs to be on the floor, and (6) to smother other fires."

Barbara Mowery
General Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator
Physical Sciences Department
York College of Pennsylvania
441 Country Club Road
York PA 17403-3651
113 Campbell Hall 717-815-6480 Fax 717-849-1653 This information is intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any review, disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this e-mail communication by others is strictly prohibited.  If you are  not the intended recipient, please notify us immediately by returning  this message to the sender and delete all copies.

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