Grease fires are one of the most common types of kitchen fires. They can occur either in the cooking pan, oven or under the burner in the drip pan if it has not been properly cleaned out from the previous use. Grease fires can get out of hand very quickly and cause a great amount of damage. They are easy to prevent with proper attention and care in the kitchen. We have some tips for you on how you can prevent grease fires and what to do if one begins.
Preventing a Grease Fire
The most effective way of preventing fires in your kitchen is to pay attention to your cooking. Leaving your kitchen unattended while cooking is extremely dangerous. Do not go to do other chores around the house while cooking and try not to become distracted by other things going on around you. If grease catches fire it can flare up and spread quickly.
Before you begin cooking, make sure that the area is clean. Wipe up any spills and ensure that the drip pan is cleaned out. Also, do not have any items around that are combustible. Do not have paper towels, dish cloths or anything else sitting close by that could catch on fire.
If you notice that the oil in your pan is beginning to smoke you should turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat source. Smoking can be a sign that it is coming close to catching on fire. Most oils will catch fire at 500°F. Heat up the oil slowly and try to remove as much moisture as you can from what you are cooking before placing it in the pot or pan. Never put frozen food into hot oil. It will cause the oil to spatter. Never add water to grease.
If you are deep frying, always use a pot that is made for deep frying. Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature to ensure it does not get too hot. If you are not an experienced cook, you should not deep fry on your own for the first time.
What to Do if a Grease Fire Breaks Out
When a fire breaks out, do your best not to panic as it will effect your thinking. Turn off the heat immediately and never put a grease fire out with water. Water and oil do not mix and throwing water on the fire will cause steam explosions that can spread the fire around the area.
If the fire is small you can try to contain and smother it by putting a metal lid on the pot. You can also dump baking soda or salt on the grease fire. Never use other kinds of powder such as flour or baking powder. They will make the fire worse. Do not try to move the pot outside as this could cause the fire to become bigger and you could burn yourself or drop it and cause the fire to spread.
You should have a class K fire extinguisher in or very near your kitchen. This type of extinguisher is highly effective at putting out grease fires. Know how to use it so you are not attempting to figure it out when you need it. Use the extinguisher if the fire is still small, is not spreading and the fire is not in between you and your only route of escape. It only takes moments for a room to go up in flames so if the fire is not manageable and has moved beyond the stove, get out of the house straight away and call 911.
Hopefully you will never have to experience any type of fire and with these tips you should be able to prevent a grease fire in your home. However, if this unfortunate event takes place, Restoration Mate is always here to help. Restoration Mate is available 24 hours a day for emergencies and are experts in fire clean up and restoration.