This safety tool may not be the right choice for Oakville residents

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Published March 18, 2024 at 4:22 pm

Oakville Fire Department is letting residents know that fire blankets may not be the best idea for home safety, especially if they’re your only option in a kitchen fire.

“Not all fires are the same, and not all fire safety products are effective,” said a spokesperson for the department.

“When it comes to home fire safety, the Oakville Fire department is asking residents to prioritize the use of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and use vigilance with optional products like fire blankets, which pose more risk of improper use.”

Fire blankets are not mandated by legislation and households are not required to buy them. Marketers often promote fire blankets as effective in suppressing small fires, but knowing when and how to use them requires high alertness.

The instructions on fire blankets are often vague, advising users to simply “toss over fires” with no distance specified. To be effective in smothering a kitchen fire, a fire blanket must land flat and on target without sliding off the pan.

Using a fire blanket is risky and could move the direction and intensity of fire, particularly if individuals adjust or re-toss the blanket over the fire.

Fire extinguishers are not mandated for residential properties either. However, they are more effective than fire blankets and come with more precise instructions – a minimum two-metre distance from the fire source.

If using a fire extinguisher, it’s recommended you read the safety instructions online on the Prevent Fires page.

Here are some kitchen fire safety tips from the Oakville Fire Department:

  • To put out a stove top fire, keep a proper-fitting pot lid near the stove when cooking
  • If a pot catches fire, and only if it appears safe to take any immediate steps, slide the lid over the pot and turn off the stove. Do not remove the pan from the stove top.
  • If a fire spreads beyond the pan to include the stove top or more, the fire is no longer confined. The risk of personal injury for anyone attempting to put out a fire increases substantially.
  • Leave the area immediately, close doors behind you to contain the fire, call 9-1-1 from outside the house and wait for the fire department to arrive.
  • In case of a small oven fire, keep the oven door closed. Turn off the heat and only open the door once you are confident the fire is completely out.
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