When you buy a fire blanket, the first thing you need to do before clicking on the ‘add to cart’ button is to make sure that the item meets the standard in your country. For the UK, USA, Canada and Australia, we’ve indicated below the standards that a fire blanket needs to meet.
United Kingdom: BS EN 1869:1997
European Union: EN 1869:1997
USA: ASTM F 1989
Canada: ASTM F 1989
Australia: AS/NZS 3504 and AS1841.5
If the product does not have this marked on the product, then move on and find one that does.
However, there is a bit of a sticky point here.
We’ve come across some items on eBay and Amazon where the product states that it meets the British Standard, but upon closer inspection, it does not have the regulatory marks. Usually, these are priced way cheaper than what we’ve normally bought them for and, in most instances, they are being sold by a Chinese supplier that has a distribution address in China.
The eBay listing above for example shows a fire blanket without any safety markings whatsoever. It has sold over 1,729 of this particular item at time of writing and is retailing for £2.99.
Should you experience a kitchen fire and then need to reclaim back on your insurance after buying this type of unmarked fire blanket, what do you think the outcome will be? Not very good is putting it lightly!
How Can I Buy a British Standard Fire Blanket?
We’ve even come across some on the internet where the item looks to have the CE marking on them, but upon closer inspection, it seems to be a fake. You can quite easily spot these when you see words misspelt and the general quality feels substandard. Again, these tend to be made abroad in China, with most of the sellers online being based out in China. To overcome this, make sure the item has a British Standard kitemark with one of the numbers in the table above.
In our opinion, over 50% of the fire blankets on eBay or Amazon do not meet the British Standard
The common sense rule applies here: If the price looks like it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Ensure the item is properly kitemarked, preferably on the product and the packaging that it arrives in.
Dangerously, this item is a best seller on Amazon. The item doesn’t have any kitemarks, so we really hope none of the buyers have ever had to use this item in a real chip pan fire! Despite having an average of 4.5/5 rating, there are some buyers that have voiced there concerns at the lack of a kitemark – and rightly so.
The BBC documentary mentioned above probably relates to this programme that was originally aired in April 2016 and then updated in December 2017. The programme revealed that thousands of fire blankets were being sold online and offline using irregular and unverified claims. In the programme, a spokesperson for the British Standard Institute (BSI) commented that some of the items presented to him failed to meet the standard required, thereby putting the product users at risk in case of fire.
Should I Buy a Used Fire Blanket?
The general rule is to not reuse a fire blanket once it has been used, but some of them do state that they can be used again.
How can you be certain that the second hand item your buying is one that can be used again? For the price of a cheap lunch, you can be sure that your family is protected, that’s why we always recommend to buy a new fire blanket.
Check That a Product Meets Fire Blanket Regulations
Fire can kill. Trying to save a few pennies could turn out to be a disastrous move in the long term.
The following are our tips when you are selecting a fire blanket, or any other fire protection equipment:
- Buy a fire blanket with a British Standard Kitemark
- Buy from a British based company with a UK address and a UK telephone number
- Check to see what else the vendor sells. If they are specialists in safety and fire equipment this is a stamp of approval. If they sell fidget spinners, socks and a mish-mash of home goods… maybe it’s better to give them a miss.
- With eBay and Amazon sellers, ensure they meet the above two points. If needs be, give them a call and have a quick chat.