Can a Wet Blanket Catch Fire

Forest fire

Fire can be an extreme hazard, no matter if it happens indoors or outdoors. It can occur just about anywhere, which is why it is important to prepare and to know what to do in different situations so you can possibly save your life, as well as the lives of others. 

Knowledge on fires, how the fire spread in an urban and country surrounding, the difference between a camp/forest fire is a very beginning on learning about fires. Unfortunately, we are rarely aware of a fire, until it is too late. 

You need to know how to save yourself and others. It is possible with things you can find around, probably more than you may know. Water on its own may not be as safe, but using it to wet a blanket may be more efficient.

What do you think – can a wet blanket catch fire slower than it would dry?

Making a blanket, towel or any type of cloth wet enough to allow you to breathe, or to lessen the fire can be used to move through fire caught surroundings easier. It is not impossible for a wet blanket to burn (it all depends on the scale of the fire), but over a certain amount of time, it can be quite useful.

In this article, we discuss the most important topics on what to do and when to act. In a way, it extends the impact on how a simple wet blanket can change an impossible outcome and may save a life even during the hardest fires. 

Table of Contents

What Can You Do While Waiting for Firefighters?

An initial fire can be extinguished fast and on your own, if you know how that is. Any type of fire can start spreading really fast. Because of this, it is really important to determine its presence as early as possible.

 At the moment you notice smoke or fire, the most important thing is to remain calm. It is the only way you can respond carefully and right. 

Caution Prevents Fires

Fire prevention is the best way of protection. When it comes to indoor fires be attention to stay by your stove if you are cooking, regularly clean the aspirator filter, as well as the dust in the kitchen and bathroom vents. Electrical installation should be installed by a technician, and even a burning candle shouldn’t be left without supervision. 

Outdoor fires can be more hazardous, particularly if they are near a dry forest or any potential flammable source. If you are making a campfire with a charred cloth or you are having a fire under a tarp, be sure to inform yourself on proper prevention and fire maintenance. You can call your local forest ranger or fire station to get the fastest information. Always stay by the fire, and don’t leave it unattended.

Tipping a Fire

Depending on our preparedness and behavior we can potentially control the amount of damage that happens by the fire. Timing is key from when the fire started and when it was discovered. It mostly impacts on the time necessary to distinguish it (the more it lasts the harder it is to take it out). 

There are a few circumstances that can impact the speed of discovering the fire:

  • When you are at home, awake and see and feel smoke scent and fire;
  • You have a smoke detector that can wake you up if you are sleeping;
  • You are not at home and the neighbors call the local fire department to notify they saw smoke or fire;
  • You are not home and you have a program that warns you of a potential fire through text messaging when you are required to notify the Fire department. 

At home (or rather in an urban environment), a fire can get noticed several minutes after it starts. Even more so if the neighbors notice it 20 minutes after it started. 

Fire! What Now?

Every fire should, by rule, be reported to the Fire Station and then attempt extinguishing it. This way you ensure that the help can come in time if you don’t manage to extinguish the fire or if you are hurt.

It is important to remember the contacts for your Police, Fire, and Hospital. Try organizing the information about the fire- where you are at, how large the fire and smoke are, potential victims, hazardous environment, etc. The precise the information the more efficient your help can be. 

Burning campfire

You Can Extinguish a Starting Fire on Your Own

Basic knowledge and equipment can allow you to extinguish small-scale fires, like a burning object. A starting fire scales when you can only see smoke or a small flame that can immediately be extinguished. 

The most secure equipment is a fire extinguisher because they are full of different agents for distinguishing (water, foam, CO, or a dry chemical ABC), and they come in different sizes. 

Living in a building should allow you access to large fire extinguishers on every floor as conditioned by regulations. Every fire distinguisher has a user’s manual with visual instructions. If you live in a family home, always have at least one hand fire extinguisher, but it is safer to have on each floor or house level.

The extinguisher should have at least 6kg with a multipurpose fire extinguishing powder ABC. Place it in a visible and easily accessible place near the exiting doors or in a hallway exit. 

A starting fire can be extinguished with different things having around like water, sheets, blankets, clothes, sand, branches, shuffles, brooms, etc. To make an efficient fire extinguishing you need to identify what is on fire. Water, which is mostly associated with firefighters, is not always a good choice. 

Electrical wiring and plugins, as well as overheated fats, have a strong reaction in content with specific materials (as water). That being said, never use water to extinguish a fire started by bad electricals, overheated oils in a pot, or camp fuel if you are outdoors.

For example, you can limit the reaction and fire started in a pot by simply putting a lid or damp towel over it. 

Use Different Materials and Strategies to Extinguish Fire

Depending on where you are located, and on the amount of time you have, try preparing safe zones can be a difference between a mortal outcome and getting out of the fire with only a few burns. 

  1. Clear the area of flammable materials, or select a wide-open space if the fire is out in the open. 
  2. Close all the windows and doors to prevent smoke and flame from entering the house, and try moving furniture away from the windows to prevent embers from the ignition. 
  3.  If you have access to the water, fill the bathtub or buckets with it. Wet blankets and towels should be placed inside the house to stop smoke and embers from entering. 

If It Seems Dangerous, Evacuate to Safety

Estimating needs to be realistic when it comes to fire control. Being aware of your possibilities and admitting that things are out of control is human. The proper, true and efficient reaction can save your life. However, pay attention to the following:

  • If there is smoke in the room, exit by lowering yourself to the ground and crawling out, as the air will be less polluted near the ground. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a damp towel or cloth, and evacuate. 
  • Exiting a smoke-filled space is easy to locate if you move against the walls. 
  • Before opening the door, check the nob with the back part of your arm. If it is hot, don’t open the door because there is fire on the other side. 
  • If you are unable to leave the room because of fire and smoke, close the door. Put a cloth under the door as it will slow down smoke entry into the room. 
  • If you cannot safely evacuate, open the window and call for help. 
  • Never use an elevator. Instead, run down the stairs. 

So, Can a Wet Blanket Catch Fire?

Depending on the fire, any type of material, gas, or liquid can be caught in the fire and endanger people’s lives. However, knowing how intense any material can interact with the fire, or what may block Oxygene and prevent its further development should be useful information that can probably save lives. 

Escaping a house fire with a wet towel seems like a good idea everyone should think about. Where you should get a large towel or blanket wet, put it over your head or wrap it around your body and start moving through the fire. This is not a good idea if you don’t think through it, and here is why. 

If a large fire is only blocking an entryway where you can get out, it is a good idea to use a wet blanket as a shield. However, never wrap it around yourself as a taco as there might be some plastic fibers in the blanket that can start melting and attach to the skin, causing severe burns and skin damage.

On the other hand, if you use it to block out the coming fire as a wall, always look for spaces with smaller fumes and fires, and try exiting the space as fast as you can.

Think through each step you can take, ask yourself what can go wrong, and carefully assess each step, as fast as you can and get yourself and others to safety. 

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