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Fire blankets and fire extinguishers

If you discover a fire you must get everyone out as quickly as possible and call 999 for the fire service.

Should you discover a fire in it's early stages you may think that you can deal with it yourself. The first thing to remember is that even small fires spread very quickly, producing smoke and fumes which can kill in seconds.

If you are in any doubt, do not tackle the fire.

Get out - Get the fire brigade out - Stay out

Keeping a fire extinguisher or fire blanket in your home may help you tackle a small fire before it gets out of control.

Fire blankets

  • Fire blankets are made of fire resistant materials. They are particularly useful for smothering fires or for wrapping round a person whose clothing is on fire. Fire blankets conforming to British Standard BS EN 1869:1997 are suitable for use in the home.
  • These will be marked to show whether they should be thrown away after use or used again after cleaning in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Never use a fire extinguisher on a fat pan fire.
  • Fire blankets should be kept in the kitchen.
  • Do not put your blanket too close to your cooker, you may not reach it in the event of fire.

Fire extinguishers

  • There are three main types of fire extinguisher: powder, water and foam.
  • No single type of extinguisher is totally effective on every kind of fire.
  • Before buying one, it's vital to look carefully at what kinds of fires it can be used on. That way, you can make sure you get one suitable for your own needs.
  • Multi-purpose dry powder extinguishers or Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) extinguishers are usually the best choices for home use. They have the fewest dangers and are effective on many types of fire.

Tips for the safe use of any type of extinguisher

  • Make sure you read the instructions and are familiar with how to use it.
  • Only buy one you can carry easily.
  • It is best placed in the hall and taken where needed.
  • Don't put it near a heater or fire, but do fix it to the wall, so that it is out of the reach of children, but easily accessible by others.
  • Get it serviced once a year (or as often as the manufacturer recommends)when using the extinguisher on a fire, keep yourself on the escape route side of the blaze.

If you're not sure which extinguisher to get for your home, you can contact your local fire and rescue service for advice.

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