The Do's and Don'ts of Grease Fires

You probably don’t consider everyday cooking a hazard - unless you just purchased some quality knives that are extra sharp! Besides the occasional nick on the finger or a minor burn getting something out of the oven, we don’t normally consider cooking to be a danger to ourselves or our homes. There’s one major exception to that – grease fires.

Grease fires occur when your cooking oil becomes too hot. This can happen very quickly. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on oil as it’s heating and if you start to see it smoking or smell something acrid, you want to immediately turn down the heat.

If the worst happens, and your oil does catch on fire, here’s what you SHOULD NOT DO:

DO NOT USE WATER – This will cause the fire to spread quickly.

DO NOT MOVE THE POT OR CARRY IT OUTSIDE – You could burn yourself or anyone in your path.

DO NOT THROW ANY OTHER BAKING PRODUCT ON THE FIRE – If you are out of baking soda, don’t try flour. It won’t react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.

You can see from the video below (thanks to the folks at CERT - Santa Monica) how quickly a grease fire can spread when water is poured on it. If the fire is contained to one pot, you can probably attempt to put it out yourself. Here’s what YOU SHOULD DO:

TURN THE HEAT OFF – Without touching or moving the pot so as to avoid splashing yourself with the burning oil.

COVER THE POT WITH A METAL LID – this will starve the fire of oxygen, and without oxygen the fire will put itself out.

POUR BAKING SODA ON THE FIRE – It will take a lot of baking soda to extinguish a fire, so only attempt this if the fire is very small.

SPRAY THE POT WITH A CHEMICAL FIRE EXTINGUISHER – Only do this as a last resort as fire extinguisher will contaminate your kitchen. But it is better than the alternative, which is the fire or smoke damage spreading beyond just your kitchen.

CALL 911 – If the fire begins to spread, get yourself and everyone else out of the house and call for emergency assistance.


Categories: Safety Tips, fire


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