This is the National Fire Prevention Association’s opinion on fire blankets:
Clothing fires – modify NFPA 45 Annex 22.214.171.124 to add text similar to the following on fire
blankets: Fire blankets may be 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. Someone else can
get the blanket and use it to help smother the flames. 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.
Standard on Fire Protection for Laboratories
Minutes – November 15, 2012
Eric Clark, MS, CHMM, CCHO
Safety Officer, Public Health Scientist III
Los Angeles County Public Health Laboratory
The DivCHAS email list talked about this 4 years ago (http://www.ilpi..com/dchas/2010/20100927b.html).
It seemed to me most commenters were in agreement that using a fire blanket to wrap a victim who is standing (with clothes on fire) would likely create a chimney effect, funneling hot gases to the victim’s face. Neal L. said that NFPA had not commented on this – just changed their emphasis from fire blankets to “STOP! - DROP! - ROLL!”
Does anyone have a citation for this change?
Do you have blankets in your labs?
What do you teach about fire blankets?
It worries me that the vertical fire blanket cabinets are still on the market and I’ve found web pages (including one University safety program and Wikipedia) still teaching the “wrap the standing victim” method.
“Prudent Practices” recommends a fire blanket as a last resort, but doesn’t give much explanation.
Sheila M. Kennedy, C.H.O.
Safety Coordinator | Teaching Laboratories
Chemistry & Biochemistry |University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Dr. | La Jolla, CA 92093-0303
(858) 534 – 0221 | fax (858) 534 – 7687
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