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Fire Safety for Facilities Management Personnel – Fire extinguishing appliances – Part 225

October 30, 2023 12:32 pm

Lawrence Webster Forrest (LWF) is a specialist fire engineering and fire risk management consultancy whose aim is to give information on best practice in fire safety for facilities management personnel through this blog series. In part 224, LWF considered the appropriate siting of fire extinguishers. In part 225, we will discuss the other ubiquitous fire protection products – fire blankets and hose reels.

Fire Blankets

Fire blankets are commonly made of fibreglass coated in fire-resistant products. They may also be made of Kevlar, similarly treated with fire-resistant products. They are contained within wall-mounted housings and are in a red cover with a quick release mechanism to allow for ease of storage and quick deployment when needed. Larger fire blankets are available for use in laboratory and industrial situations. These are often made of wool and sometimes treated with a flame retardant chemical such as hexafluororzirconate and zirconium acetate.

The standard fire blankets may be found in kitchen areas where they may be used for small kitchen fires and to smother fires that may suddenly start in chip pans. They may also be useful in extinguishing people’s clothing that may have caught fire in the kitchen.

Hose Reels

Hose reels come in both manual and automatic types and are usually a wall-mounted 30 metre rubber hose on a reel that is permanently connected to the water supply.

BS 3506-1 is the standard which provides recommendations as to flow rates and flow range of hose reels.

In most buildings, water is supplied from the mains supply, but in very tall buildings, there may be a need to provide a tank and pumps to provide a suitable water supply. A tank providing at least 1,125 litres should be provided as the guidance states the supply duration should be 45 minutes. Duplicate electric pumps should be used as needed.

In the case of manual hose reels, it is necessary for the user to open a valve before running out the hose. In the case of automatic hose reels, valves are fitted which provide a supply of water after a short, pre-determined length of hose has been run out.

While automatic valve hose reels have an advantage in that there is no need for the user to remember to open the water valve, or if the valve has become stiff to operate, have issues doing so, there is the potential for failure as the automatic valves have been known to fail upon operation.

In part 226 of this series, LWF will begin to talk about staff fire safety and equipment training. In the meantime, if you have any queries about your own facilities or wish to discuss this blog series, please contact LWF on freephone 0800 410 1130.

Lawrence Webster Forrest is a fire engineering consultancy based in Surrey with over 35 years’ experience, which provides a wide range of consultancy services to professionals involved in the design, development and construction and operation of buildings.


While care has been taken to ensure that information contained in LWF’s publications is true and correct at the time of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact on the accuracy of this information.

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