How To Stop a Grease Fire in 8 Easy Steps
There’s no doubt about it – grease fires are scary. They’re one of the most common causes of household fires in the US and can quickly grow out of control for the unsuspecting home chef.
We have helped hundreds of property owners restore their properties after experiencing difficulties with fire damage repairs.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent and handle grease fires to avoid costly damages or injuries. Here are eight steps to prevent and manage a grease fire.
Prevent it from happening
As grandmothers always say: one ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. While accidents do happen, the best way to keep everyone safe is to exercise caution in the kitchen.
- Don’t leave the kitchen unattended if you’re cooking with grease
- Clear the area around your stovetop of flammable items, including things like oven mitts or towels hanging from the range hood
- Go slow – let oil and grease heat up slowly and don’t let it get too hot
- Add food to pots gently, one at a time, to avoid splattering
- Don’t cook if you’ve been drinking alcohol or otherwise in a state of impaired judgment
- Keep pot lids nearby and know the location of your nearest fire extinguisher
- Check your smoke detectors
In general, be slow and careful when cooking with grease and have a plan ready in case of a fire. If your pan starts smoking, then it’s time to turn off the heat.
Don’t panic & don’t use water
A grease fire does require quick action, but it’s important not to panic. Being thoroughly prepared and knowing precisely what to do in the event of a grease fire can prevent you from making mistakes.
Speaking of mistakes, the number one mistake is using water to put out a grease fire. It may sound counter-intuitive but remember – water and oil don’t mix. Water can boil instantly upon contact with a grease fire, turning into scalding steam and causing oil to splatter, taking fire with it. Do not use water on a grease fire.
Turn off the heat
If it’s safe to do so, quickly turn off the source of the heat to the stovetop or oven. Don’t try to move the pan off the burner, though, as this can agitate the flame and potentially make it worse.
Cover the flame
You can cover the flame with the pot lid or a metal baking sheet – but not a flammable dish towel or wet rag. Avoid glass and ceramic, too, as these can shatter if heated too quickly.
Covering a grease fire is meant to essentially suffocate a flame, as it can’t keep burning without a supply of oxygen. It will also prevent the fire from spreading elsewhere in the kitchen.
Generally, suffocating the flame will be enough to put it out – but if not, there are more steps you can take.
Toss some baking soda or salt
If you don’t have a lid on hand and the fire is small, throw baking soda or salt on top. Baking soda and salt can help smother flames like a cover can.
Do NOT mistake flour or baking powder for baking soda. Flour and baking powder are easily combustible and will make things worse. If you’re in doubt about the identity of your white powder, then don’t use it.
Wait for it to cool down
Even if the danger is gone, it’s still prudent to wait a while before attempting to clean up. Your cooking materials may still be scorching to the touch, so you can avoid burns by waiting for them to cool.
Use a fire extinguisher
If the flame gets too big to manage, pull the pin on your nearest fire extinguisher and aim directly at the source of the fire. Squeeze the handle and spray using a sweeping motion until the fire goes out completely.
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher readily available or using one isn’t enough to put out the flames, then it’s time to evacuate and call 911 once you’re a safe distance away.
Call for fire & smoke restoration help
Once all is said and done, you may have damage to your home from the fire or smoke. Fortunately, our pros here at All Dry USA are here to help if you’re in need of restoration services. We can restore your walls, household items, furniture, and whatever else has been damaged by smoke and fire. Just give us a call when you’re ready!