Common Kitchen Items and Ways to Put Out Grease Fires
When you encounter a fire in your home — no matter the size — it can cause you to panic and become overwhelmed. But it is important to stay collected and act quickly to limit the amount of damage it causes.
One of the most common sources for not only kitchen fires but home fires is grease. Grease fires occur when cooking oil is overheated. The oil begins to boil, starts to smoke, and then catches on fire.
It is important to know how to tend to such fires, especially because there are certain methods you must take when trying to put out a grease fire. The best way to put out a grease fire is to use a fire extinguisher designed specifically for these types of fires. However, there are common kitchen items that you can use as well to extinguish a grease fire if you don’t have the proper fire extinguisher on hand, making it a little easier on yourself to address such a situation.
Use Baking Soda
If the grease fire is small enough, you can use baking soda to extinguish it. Pouring baking soda on the flames smothers them because baking soda releases carbon dioxide. However, it is recommended that you only use baking soda for smaller fires because it takes a lot of baking soda to take out a grease fire.
A standard box of baking soda used for refrigerators is likely only enough for a small fire. So, unless you have a large box of baking soda like the ones that can be found with laundry detergent at the store, save the baking soda for small grease fires.
Salt absorbs heat well, so it can also be used to fight grease fires. About a cup of salt will help put out a decent-sized grease fire. Like baking soda, salt isn’t recommended for use on large grease fires because of the amount of salt that would be required to extinguish the flames.
Other Actions to Take
When a grease fire starts, be sure to also take the following actions in addition to using baking soda and/or salt:
- Turn off the stove: This should be the first thing you do when a grease fire starts so that you eliminate the heat source. By eliminating its heat source, there’s a lesser chance of the grease fire staying alive.
- Cover the pan/pot: Cover the pot/pan you’re using with a metal lid. This prevents the fire from getting more oxygen, causing the fire to die out. Be sure to use a metal lid, though, and not a glass one. A glass lid will shatter.
- Call 911: Some fires are going to get out of control to the point where you cannot handle it with these methods. Be sure to immediately call 911 to get your local fire department to your residence so that the fire can be properly extinguished.
What NOT to Do
- Do NOT move the pot/pan: Not only is it dangerous to get into direct contact with the pot/pat, but you can also spread the fire by moving it. You could splash burning grease onto yourself and other things throughout your home, making the fire worse than it already was.
- Do NOT use water: You should never use water on a grease fire, because it can splash and spread the grease, causing the fire to become even bigger.
- Do NOT use any other baking products: Make sure you are using either salt or baking soda to take out a grease fire. Using similar looking products such as sugar, baking powder, or flour can make fires worse.
Grease Fire Prevention
Grease fires can easily be prevented if you pay attention, take the proper actions, and prioritize kitchen fire safety.
When cooking with grease and/or oil, keep an eye on the temperature of the grease/oil, and watch for any signs of smoking. Smoking will occur right before a grease fire breaks out. The smoking point for most vegetable oil is near 450°F, and the smoking point for animal fats is near 375°F. You can purchase a thermometer to help keep an eye on the temperature.
If you ever have greasy/oily spills on your stove or in your microwave or oven, make sure you thoroughly clean up those messes to prevent grease fires.
You can further prepare yourself for a grease fire by getting either a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher or a class B-C kitchen fire extinguisher.
Fire Damage Restoration
In the event that a grease fire breaks out in your kitchen and you are unable to put it out, immediately call 911 to contact your local fire department. After firefighters have extinguished the fire, you’ll want to immediately seek help from a professional fire damage restoration company to prevent any damage from worsening. Restoration professionals will properly clean your property following a fire and will also address smoke and soot damage.
One such fire damage restoration provider includes ServiceMaster. Available 24/7 nationwide, these professionals respond immediately to emergencies of all types, especially grease fires. Because the soot and smoke from the fire and smoke will continue to spread, we move quickly to limit the damage, using professional products to remove the byproducts.
For more information regarding fire damage restoration services, give your local ServiceMaster a call.