It only takes a few seconds for hot oil or grease to flame up. Grease fires can happen inside your oven or on your stovetop.
Believe it or not, cooking causes over 160,000 home structure fires annually, and is considered the number one cause of home fires and home injuries. The question is, do you know how to put out a grease fire quickly and safely?
How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Small grease fires can typically be extinguished, but always be prepared to evacuate the kitchen just in case.
In the case that a grease fire has started in your oven, do NOT open the oven door, as the fire should extinguish itself. If the fire somehow spreads outside of the oven, it is time to evacuate.
If the grease fire has occurred on your stove top:
1. Turn Off Heat and Cover
It is important to turn the heat off as soon as possible, followed by covering the flames with a metal pan, cover, or sheet. Do not touch until the pan has cooled.
2. Baking Soda or Salt
Smother the flames with baking soda or salt, if the fire is small. Drop either one directly on the fire. Be cautious, as a sideways throw could cause flames to move out of the pan and spread across the stove top. Do NOT mistake baking soda with baking powder, as it will make the fire worse.
3. Use a Fire Extinguisher
Put out the fire with a Class K grease fire extinguisher, as it is safest. You may also use Class B fire extinguishers if needed, as they work on most kitchen fires.
I Can’t Extinguish the Fire, Help!
If you could not tame the fire, you need to:
- Leave the house immediately, making sure to close doors behind you, to contain the fire.
- Call 911 once you reach a safe location.
- Don’t go back to your home until the firefighters allow it.
Avoid Making the Fire Worse
While you may have used water to put out another fire, do NOT use it on a grease fire! The following items will cause the grease fire to become far worse.
- Water on a grease fire causes a steam explosion that spreads flames.
- Flour is flammable, and on a grease fire it will ignite and burst into flames.
- Baking Powder is not baking soda, as baking powder will ignite when thrown on a grease fire.
- Plates, bowls, or any dinnerware that one might use to put out a grease fire does not work. If a plate is used, it will explode, shattering glass everywhere.
How to Prevent a Grease Fire:
- Always have a Class K fire extinguisher handy.
- Stay near food while it is cooking, as leaving food unattended causes many fires.
- Stay attentive.
- Keep a lid nearby.
- Put frozen foods in hot oil.
- Heat oil at too high a temperature.
- Allow children near a hot stove.
Finally, develop a home fire safety plan. It is crucial for each member of the family to know where to go in case of an emergency. Check the batteries in your smoke detector annually, and keep up with expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.
Are you currently dealing with the aftermath of a grease fire? Reach out to us at Paradise Cleaning, as we have more than 40 years of experience in deep cleaning and restoration services! Call us 24/7 at (401) 849-6644 or request a proposal.