The History Of The Foil Blanket

The emergency foil blanket, also known as a space blanket or emergency blanket, has become a ubiquitous item in emergency equipment, first aid kits and outdoor gear. But how did this simple yet effective tool come to be?

The origins of the foil blanket can be traced back to NASA and the space race of the 1960s. The blankets were created to protect astronauts from the extreme temperatures of space and the sun’s radiation. Made of a thin layer of plastic or polyester film with a metallic coating, the blankets are lightweight, waterproof, and reflect up to 90% of a person’s body heat.

The technology behind the foil blanket was quickly recognised as having potential for use beyond the realm of space travel. In the 1970s, the United States military began using the blankets as a means of thermal insulation for soldiers in the field. The blankets proved to be durable and effective at keeping soldiers warm, even in harsh and unpredictable weather conditions.

The popularity of the foil blanket continued to grow and in the 1980s, emergency responders and outdoor enthusiasts alike began incorporating them into their gear. The blankets were valued for their compact size, ease of use, and ability to keep individuals warm and dry in emergencies.

One of the most well-known uses of the foil blanket came in the aftermath of the 1985 Mexico City earthquake. The blankets were distributed to survivors as a means of providing warmth and shelter in the absence of homes and buildings damaged by the quake.

Since then, the foil blanket has become a staple in emergency kits for hikers, climbers, and outdoor adventurers. They are also commonly found in first aid kits and the trunks of cars, where they can be used to help individuals stay warm and dry in case of a breakdown or other roadside emergency.

The foil blanket’s popularity is not limited to emergency situations, however. They are often used in medical settings as well, to help regulate body temperature in patients undergoing surgery or experiencing shock.

Use of foil blankets at the London Marathon

The London Marathon is one of the most iconic and gruelling races in the world. Every year, thousands of runners from around the globe converge on the streets of London to test their endurance and push themselves to the limit. One of the tools that many of these runners rely on to help them finish the race is the foil blanket.

The use of foil blankets at the London Marathon is a common sight. As soon as runners cross the finish line, volunteers hand out the blankets to help them regulate their body temperature and prevent hypothermia. This is especially important for runners who have just completed a marathon, as their bodies are typically depleted and vulnerable to the elements.

The foil blankets used at the London Marathon are the same ones that have become a staple in emergency preparedness kits and outdoor gear. They are made of a thin layer of plastic or polyester film with a metallic coating, which helps to reflect a person’s body heat back to them. This reflective property is what makes the blankets so effective at keeping runners warm after a marathon.

In addition to their use at the London Marathon, foil blankets are also commonly used at other endurance races and events. They are often handed out at the finish line of marathons, ultramarathons, and triathlons, to name just a few. They have also been used at major sporting events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, to help athletes recover after intense competition.

For female marathon runners, in particular, the foil blanket is a valuable tool that can make a significant difference in their performance and well-being. By keeping their bodies warm and regulated, runners can recover more quickly after a race and avoid the risk of injury or illness.

In conclusion, the use of foil blankets at the London Marathon and other endurance events is a testament to their effectiveness and versatility as a tool for survival and comfort. Whether in space or on the streets of London, the foil blanket has proven to be an indispensable piece of equipment for athletes, emergency responders, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Photo by Zoom Health

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of Home Health Tests and Earplugs

This post was originally published in April 2023.

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