For many cooking fires, a fire blanket will do a better job of extinguishing it without all the mess to clean up. Few boats carry one, although they're not expensive. Take a look . . .

Fire Blanket

Got a fire blanket within reach of your galley?  You should. Actually, even in a house, it’s a great safety item.

Basically, a fire blanket smothers small fires.  And unlike a fire extinguisher, it doesn’t make a mess (if you’ve ever used a fire extinguisher you know it puts white powder everywhere that’s difficult to clean up) and most can be re-used.

That’s not to say that you don’t need a fire extinguisher aboard if you have a fire blanket (actually, you probably need several fire extinguishers — read my article about using one here).  But it’s one more tool — and one that’s much more appropriate in many circumstances.

A quick note — fire blankets are best for small, contained fires where you can effectively smother them.  If flames can come out the sides of the fire blanket, you’re going to have to use the fire extinguisher.

First, a quick video on using a fire blanket, then a great idea way to keep it within reach and finally, a link to a good fire blanket at a reasonable price.

A fire blanket is extremely easy to use, but like anything else it’s good to think about it before you need it.  This video is only 34 seconds long and explains everything you need to know:

If you can’t watch the video, the little picture at the top of this article shows the basic concept — hold the straps at the top of the blanket with the blanket covering the back of your hands and place the blanket over the fire to smother it.  The flames should not come through the blanket. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes to avoid a flare-up.  Of course, keep an eye on the area during that time!

For many cooking fires, a fire blanket will do a better job of extinguishing it without all the mess to clean up. Take a look . . . Okay, so now you’re wondering how and where you’re going to store it on the boat so it’s readily available should you need it.  If your boat is laid out at all like ours, you just don’t have suitable wall space in the galley.  Reader Annette Baker (see her web site The Seamless Sailor for great info on boat sewing projects) came up with a great idea, shown in the photo.  She attached a wire bin to the ceiling near — but not over — the stove.

You want to make sure that if there’s a cooking fire you can reach the blanket without getting burned.  This is perfect — it’s out of the way and uses space that can’t be used for much else!

Most fire blankets have an easy-open case of some type with a way to hang it.  You can use a couple of cable ties through the wall hangers to attach it to the wire basket so it won’t slide out with the motion of the boat.  Just test to make sure that you can still open the case and get the blanket out quickly in case of an emergency!

I figured that it would be easy to find fire blankets online.  What I ended up learning was that many things called “fire blankets” were actually emergency or hypothermia blankets.  Other listings were just for the case. So beware!

This is the fire blanket I bought from Amazon — actually, I bought two since Barefoot Gal’s galley is long and narrow and I wanted a fire blanket on each side of the stove.

Do you have a fire blanket?  Have you ever had to use it?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments —

For many cooking fires, a fire blanket will do a better job of extinguishing it without all the mess to clean up. Take a look . . .

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  • Heather Braun on Facebook
    Posted at 07 January 2013 Reply

    I see a fire blanket in my future.

  • MaryJo Boyle
    Posted at 07 January 2013 Reply

    A fire blanket came with our boat; it’s in the galley. Neither one of us has ever even opened it–guess I’ll do that tomorrow.
    Thanks, Carolyn!

  • Jen Brett
    Posted at 08 January 2013 Reply

    Hi Carolyn,
    Thanks for bringing this up! Fire safety needs to be taken really, really seriously on boats. On Lyra, we have a fire blanket near the galley and several types of extinguishers (dry chemical, CO2, and Halotron). It’s important to familiarize yourself with what kinds of fire can be extinguished with each extinguisher, and the pros and cons of each. Also, get your extinguishers inspected annually.

  • Chris Link
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    My friends on ZTC,consider one if guests can access stove?

  • Stephanie Kershaw-Marsh
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    Yep, we have a fire blanket in our galley along with fire extinguishers in every cabin and the engine room. Luckily we’ve never needed to use them.

  • Beth Chadwick Schwab
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    Right in the galley! Easy to get to in a hurry.

  • Robert Patterson
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    Right in the galley! I have removed the old alcohol stove/oven and tank.

  • Rick
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    I have never used my fire blanket (fiberglass). I purchased mine from NEW FROG for $12.29 with free shipping. This comes from Hong Kong and takes over 2 weeks to arrive.

  • Rick
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    We have one and have never used it.

  • Karin Drake
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    Akaroa got one of these after I read about them on TBG. It would never have occured to me otherwise. Every home should have one too. I initially thought it should be stored above and to the side of the stove in the gap between the ceiling ribs, but after more thought decided it was better on the other side of the cabin so that we can grab it when we instinctively step back from the flames. Hopefully we never have to test the theory.

  • Viki Moore
    Posted at 13 August 2013 Reply

    I´ve got one!

  • Gloria Rooney
    Posted at 14 August 2013 Reply

    We have a fire blanket on board, but I hope we never have to use it.

  • S/V Dos Libras
    Posted at 03 July 2014 Reply

    We don’t have one… Maybe should put it on the list.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 03 July 2014 Reply

      It’s on my list for BG . . . always something, isn’t there?

  • Ellen Farris
    Posted at 06 July 2014 Reply

    Great idea. Thanks!

  • Mary
    Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

    Can it be reused?
    What’s it made of?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 25 February 2015 Reply

      Yes it can be reused. Not sure of the material but it’s something flameproof and heavy enough to keep air from getting to the fire.

  • Carole Erdman Grant
    Posted at 15 February 2016 Reply

    Fire blankets are law on boats in the UK and it is a super idea. We took some home too.

  • Jane Gammons
    Posted at 15 February 2016 Reply

    We have one

  • Karissa Coffey
    Posted at 15 February 2016 Reply

    Vernon another tool for the tool box!

  • Shawn Harlan
    Posted at 15 February 2016 Reply

    Yes i do

  • Annie Lindsay
    Posted at 16 February 2016 Reply

    Definitely especially for oil or fat fires – powder extinguishers just make a big mess in EVERY NOOK AND CRANNY

  • Jeff Dalton
    Posted at 17 February 2016 Reply

    Getting one…

  • Donna
    Posted at 19 February 2016 Reply

    Do they work in the engine compartment?

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 20 February 2016 Reply

      They will if you can totally cover the area where there is a fire — the problem around machinery is that the machinery is oddly shaped and air can cometimes still get in. So you might put a fire blanket over the top but still need to use a fire extinguisher a bit around the edges of the blanket.

  • Angel Mercer Ganey
    Posted at 21 February 2016 Reply

    I bought the same one from Amazon. Thanks for the tip.

  • Eve
    Posted at 07 March 2017 Reply

    Great article! We chartered a 52′ catamaran in the Bahamas last summer and my cousin put the BBQ grill under the cabintop because it was raining… and then the grill caught fire and flames shot up the salon entry way. My no-panic husband quickly grabbed the fire extinguisher and put it out. Luckily no damage or injury – but what a mess to clean up!. When we reported the incident to the charter company they told us about the hidden fire blanket, which would have been an easy, fast, safe way to put out that kind of confined fire. I suggest having a second fire blanket accessible near your grill.

  • Stan Morin
    Posted at 10 May 2017 Reply

    Just ordered one from Amazon. Wife says that if I keep adding new things, our fuel use will go through the roof

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 10 May 2017 Reply

      If there is ever a fire, she’ll be happy to have it aboard (as will you . . .)!

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