Fire Safety Blankets and Why Everyone Should Have One

In previous articles I have shared my own personal experience with unexpected accidents involving fire and I have expressed my opinion that we should all do our utmost to be prepared for emergencies. Now I’d like to relate some real facts about fires at home and why everyone should have a fire safety blanket (or “fireproof blanket”).

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) over the last 5 years, though the number of Residential Building fires has decreases; ever so slightly, the number of deaths and injuries directly caused by these fires has remained fairly constant. And the monetary loss as a result of these same fires has increased, to between 7.3 to 7.8 Billion dollars annually in the U.S. alone.

This is a very serious problem and needs to be addressed, not by government agencies, but rather by the home owner or tenants of all residences. That means it is up to each of us to take responsibility for our own and our families’ safety.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates that in 2009 home fires in 377,000 cases 2,565 deaths occurred and 13,050 people were injured enough to need medical attention. NFPA data states that in 2003 there were 388,500 reported home fires in the U.S. resulting in 3,145 fatalities and 13,650 injuries, with a net property loss of $5.9 billion.

Now of course these are statistics, and from the USFA the definition of a Residential Building is as follows: Definition of Residential Building

structure is a constructed item of which a building is one type. The term residential structure commonly refers to buildings where people live. To coincide with this concept, the definition of a residential structure fire includes only those fires confined to an enclosed building or fixed portable or mobile structure with a residential property use. Such fires are referred to as residential buildings to distinguish these buildings from other structures on residential properties that may include fences, sheds, and other uninhabitable structures. Residential buildings include, but are not limited to one- or two-family dwellings, multifamily dwellings, manufactured housing, boarding houses or residential hotels, commercial hotels, college dormitories, and sorority/fraternity houses

As you can see these averages are only for homes and residences. This does not account for data that includes non-residential structures, such as office buildings, manufacturing centers, etc.

But the NFPA is very specific when they state that:

  • Nearly half of all home fire deaths result from fires that were reported between 10:00 p.m.and 6:00 a.m.(Only 25% of home fires occur during these hours).
  • January is usually the peak month for home fire deaths, with December ranked 2nd and March 3rd.
  • Smoking was the leading cause of home fire deaths overall, but in the months of December, January and February; smoking and heating equipment caused equal numbers of fire deaths. Cooking was the leading cause of home fires and fire injuries year-round.
  • 30% of home fire deaths were caused by fires where a smoke alarm was present and worked.

Most homes across the nation have smoke detectors. Some have fire extinguishers and or fire sprinkler systems. Fewer still have carbon monoxide detectors and very few have a fire safety blanket and a well practiced evacuation plan.

As you can see in the data above, a majority of home fires occur when we least expect them, when we are asleep in our beds. Even with a smoke alarm that wakes us, we are not at our physical or mental best. We are rousted from sleep, heart racing from adrenaline, in the dark, and realizing a fire has broken out in our home our emotions take over.

Even if you are wide awake, sitting in your den, when you realize that something in your kitchen has caught on fire; the effects are the same. What do I do first? Call 911? Try to put the fire out? Warn the other people present? Run for the nearest door?

Most important, you should not panic, try to remain calm. This is where being prepared comes in. Even if you and yours have not had fire drills or practiced an evacuation plan you need to protect your self from the flames, heat, and hot gases produced by the fire. This is when a fireproof blanket (or fire safety blanket), kept in easy access, is very important.

Next, notify everyone you can find to evacuate, and if necessary help them outside, protecting them and yourself with the fire blanket. If smoke has moved throughout the house stay low to reduce the effects of smoke inhalation. Then, when you are safely outside, call 911, even if you have to use a neighbor’s phone.

Only if the fire is small or just started, should you attempt to put it out yourself. In just seconds the fire could spread, blocking exits, or overcome you with heat and smoke. This would keep you from warning others or getting you and your family safely outside.

The point of all this is that, if you have no other emergency product in your home, everyone should have at least one large fire blanket (fire safety blanket/fire proof blanket) in their home; preferably in their bed room, where it can be reached at a moments notice. Remember, being prepared is the best way to survive a fire emergency.