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How To Put Out a Grease FireApril 6th, 2023 by
Out-of-control grease fires can cause extensive damage in your kitchen or even through your home. Kitchen fires can produce a large amount of smoke and soot that leave stains throughout your home. If hot grease or cooking oil catches fire, here are the best ways to smother the fire quickly and safely.
Steps to Putting Out a Grease Fire on the Stove Top
If you have a grease fire on the stop top, it’s important to act quickly to prevent smoke and soot damage and keep the fire from spreading. While you can put out a grease fire on your own, you should never use water. The water will actually sizzle and steam out, which can spread the grease and the flames. Here are the steps to put out a grease fire:
- Turn Off the Heat: If you can safely turn off the heat, do so. While this will not put out the flames, it will reduce the chance of the fire spreading.
- Smother the Flames: Use a heavy metal lid, baking sheet, or cookie sheet to smother the flames. This will restrict the flow of oxygen and help choke out the fire. Use oven mitts when smothering the fire to prevent burns. Avoid using glass or ceramic materials because the heat can cause them to crack or shatter.
- Cover the Fire in Baking Soda: If you do not have a lid or baking sheet, you can use baking soda instead. Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the grease fire until the pan is completely covered. As the baking soda heats up, it releases carbon dioxide that smothers the fire. This reaction is limited to baking soda. Do not use flour, sugar, baking powder, or other cooking powders as a substitute. They will only burn and make the fire worse.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher: While the other two methods are effective, the best way to put out a grease fire is with an ABC fire extinguisher. ABC is not a brand, but the categories of fires that the extinguisher will safely put out. Grease fires are category B fires. Point the nozzle at the fire and pull the trigger until the fire goes out completely.
- Call the Fire Department: If you cannot put out the grease fire, use a fire extinguisher to safely evacuate the kitchen and immediately call the fire department or 911. Spray the fire extinguisher across the flames as you back away.
Steps to Putting Out a Grease Fire in the Oven
While putting out a grease fire in the oven is similar to dealing with a stove top five, there are several key differences.
- Turn Off the Oven: If you can safely reach the oven controls, turn the oven off. Although this will not immediately put out the fire, it is a great first step.
- Keep the Door Closed: Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, do not open the oven door. Fire needs oxygen to burn, so keeping the door closed will help extinguish the flames. However, flames can still escape through the oven exhaust vent. If possible, remove anything from on top of the stove that could catch fire. As long as the flames are not out of control, wait ten minutes. However, if they are out of control, skip the next step and move on to using the fire extinguisher.
- Smother the Flames with Baking Soda: If the fire persists for more than ten minutes, smother the flames with baking soda. Remember, the fire is fueled in part by oxygen, so it may flair up when you open the door. To prepare, put the baking soda in a large bowl or pitcher. Open the door slowly and carefully, then fling the baking soda inside. Close the door quickly to combat the flames.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher: If you cannot control the flames or the baking soda does not work, use an ABC fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Open the oven door slowly. Standing a few feet back, spray it directly into the oven. Move it back and forth to cover the flames completely.
- Call 911 For Help: While the steps above will put out most minor grease fires in an oven, they can occasionally get out of control. The best way to handle the situation is to call the fire department or 911 for assistance. If necessary, use the fire extinguisher to keep the flame under control while you evacuate to safety. Wait outside or across the street for firefighters to arrive.
Tips For Preventing and Stopping Kitchen and Cooking Fires
While accidental fires are always possible, most grease and cooking fires are the result of a high heat source and a flammable fuel like oil, bacon grease, or butter getting too hot. Here are the best ways to prevent and stop fires in the kitchen while cooking.
- Keep a chemical fire extinguisher in the kitchen at all times. This makes sure you can grab it when you need it most. While ABC extinguishers are the most common, you can also use any B-category or dry chemical fire extinguisher.
- Keep paper towels, cloth towels, and other flammable items away from your stovetop and oven. These items can easily burn during a grease fire.
- Closely monitor the temperature controls and move hot pans off of the heat source before the oil begins to smoke.
- Avoid using glass lids or ceramic materials to put out flames. They cannot withstand the flames and heat of a grease fire. Only use metal lids or sheet pans to smother flames on the cooktop.