I don’t want to scare you into ordering takeout more often, but more house fires are caused by cooking mishaps than anything else.
Grease fires are especially dangerous and happen to be responsible for one out of every five at-home fire deaths. Not all grease fires are equal, so knowing how to put one out could save your life.
Over 60 percent of grease fires happen on the stove.
When fat or oil hits the boiling point, it will start to smoke, and if it isn’t removed from heat, it could combust into flames.
So the first rule to prevent a grease fire is to never leave a pan unattended! Just don’t do it! Simply put the first sign of smoke from your oil indicates the danger zone: Turn off the heat, move the pan to a cool burner, and place a metal lid on it to stop a fire from forming!
If a grease fire does start, never, ever douse it with water or any other kind of liquid in an attempt to extinguish it.
Liquid vaporizes as it hits fire, instantly creating steam explosions in all directions and potentially engulfing a kitchen in flames!
However, if a grease fire starts… these are the things you need to know:
For a grease fire contained on the cooktop, turn off the stove immediately! Do this first IF you can safely do so! DO NOT MOVE THE PAN!!! Movement can cause the fire to get stronger and grow faster.
If the fire has spread beyond the cook-top, then it’s time to call 911! It takes less than five minutes for an entire room to become engulfed in flames, so grab your phone and get out!
If the fire is in the oven or microwave, do not open the door! Turn off the appliance immediately and move call 911.
If a small fire is contained in a pan, throw as much baking soda or salt as you have on hand directly on top of the fire.
Use only salt or baking soda, everything else like flour or biscuit mix are combustible!
If salt or baking soda fail to quell the flames and you own a class K fire extinguisher, now is the time to use it! Only a class K extinguisher is safe for kitchen grease fires, all others can make the situation worse. Always keep a class K fire extinguisher in your kitchen, they can be easily found on Amazon!
To use the fire extinguisher, remember P.A.S.S.:
Pull the pin,
Aim the nozzle,
Squeeze the lever, and
Sweep the flames.
If the fire has been fully put out by salt or soda—no more flames or smoke visible—air out the room and proceed to clean up.
If you still see smoke or flames from the pan, put a METAL lid or cookie sheet over the top.
Do not use glass lids, plates, or anything other than metal! All those other things can crack or explode from the heat, and that can cause shrapnel and injury!
If you need to adjust the lid, use tongs or a spatula. Don’t use mitts or a towel, if a flame peeks out, you could ignite the fire all over.
If the pan is still actively smoking or you see flames, then get out of the house and call 911. Leave this to the professionals.
Once the fire is out and your home is safe to enter again, you might be in for a long clean up.
Contact your insurance company in regards to any damage, and document everything with your phone. Take pictures because you might find you need them later if you file a claim.
Some damage can be cleaned yourself or with the aid of a professional cleaning service. However, if you suffered a lot of damage then you will need to think about finding a contractor to restore your home. But hopefully knowing these tips and what to do, you can prevent a grease fire from ever happening!
About the Author:
This article was brought to you by Struck and Sons Inc, Property Damage Specialists. Please always use caution when dealing with any hazardous situation. Things can be replaced, people can’t. Always err on the side of caution and call 911.
Visit us online at www.StruckandSons.com