Preventing and Extinguishing Grease Fires

How to deal with a grease fire in your kitchen.pots of fire

Grease fires are one of the most common types of household fires.  Unfortunately, these types of fires often catch home cooks off-guard, and many are not equipped to deal with them safely and effectively.  To keep your home and loved ones safe, take these steps to prevent and, if necessary, extinguish grease fires.

Prevention Tips

Grease fires usually break out when cooking oil begins to overheat.  This can happen when you leave oiled pans on the stove unattended or when you have the temperature turned up too high.  As the oil overheats, it will begin to smoke before eventually catching fire.  Fortunately, preventing a grease fire is relatively easy.  Here are some of the preventative measures that you should take.

  • Never leave a pan or deep fryer unattended while cooking.
  • When heating oil, do it slowly and use a thermometer to ensure that you are not going past the intended temperature.
  • Turn off your burner if your oil is beginning to smoke.
  • When adding food to hot oil, do so carefully to avoid grease splatter as this increases your chances of fire.
  • Use the right oil for the job. Certain oils have lower smoking points and cannot withstand high heats.  If you are cooking at high temperatures, make sure you use a more durable cooking oil to reduce your chances of a grease fire.

Extinguishing a Grease Fire

If a grease fire does break out, you cannot simply put it out by dumping water on it.  The water will react with the hot oil, leading to an explosion.  To safely extinguish a grease fire, take the following steps.

Turn off the heat, but do not attempt to move the pan or pot from the stove.  Moving a pan that’s on fire could splash grease around, potentially spreading the flames.

  1. Put a lid over the pot or pan to cut off oxygen flow to the fire.
  2. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire by fanning it. This will only feed the fire and cause it to get bigger.
  3. Do not try to smother a fire using flour. While baking powder can be used to put out small grease fires, flour cannot stand up, and you should avoid adding unnecessary substances to the flames.
  4. Due to the chemical risk of contaminating your kitchen, you should only use your fire extinguisher as a last resort.

Take these steps to prevent and extinguish grease fires in your home.  Want another way to protect your home from fire?  Then make sure you have the right homeowners insurance protections in place.  For assistance with all your home coverage needs, contact the experts at Desert Empire Insurance today.