If a fire breaks out in the kitchen, you must act quickly to prevent it from spreading. However, how you respond is based on the type of fire you have and its location. Before a fire breaks out, planning out a scenario in your own house can help you make the most of the limited time you have and could be the difference between a minor blaze and a fire that has life-altering consequences. Here’s what to do: start with preventative steps, then try to put out the fire on your own, and ultimately, deal with a problem that has gotten out of control.
Ways to Extinguish Kitchen Fires
To put out a kitchen fire, follow these steps:
- Close the door or keep it closed and turn off the oven if there is a fire in the oven or microwave. Stay away from the door! The flames will be put out by the absence of oxygen.
- Call the fire department if your oven continues to smoke like there is still a fire inside.
- If a cooking pan is on fire, clamp the lid with an oven mitt, remove the pan from the flame, and switch off the stove. The flames in a pot will go out due to a lack of oxygen.
- Use your fire extinguisher if you can’t safely put a lid on a flaming pan or if you don’t have a lid for the pan. Instead of aiming at the flames, aim towards the fire’s base.
- Never put out grease fires with water! Grease repels water, and by splattering the grease, the fire might spread. Try one of these strategies instead:
- Put a lid on the pan and turn off the burner if the fire is little.
- Sprinkle it with a lot of salt or baking soda. Never use flour as it could explode or exacerbate the flames.
- Use a damp towel or other sizable wet fabric to put out the flames.
- Implement a fire extinguisher.
- Never use a towel, apron, or any other item of clothing to put out a fire. You run the risk of spreading the fire by fanning the flames.
- Get everyone out of the house and dial 911 if the fire is out of control and spreading. Make certain that everyone in your family knows how to safely exit the house in the event of a fire. Practice your escape from a fire.
How to Prevent Kitchen Fires at Home
Place Smoke Alarms and Ensure They Are Working
Smoke alarms are a preventative precaution even though, technically, they don’t prevent fires. Install them right away to save your life afterwards. In short, get alarms that also serve as carbon monoxide (CO) detectors, and make sure they’re UL-rated, mounted correctly, and kept in good working order.
Never leave food unattended in a hot oven
One of the main causes of kitchen fires is unattended cooking. “We comprehend that everyone has a multitude of activities going on at once, including watching TV, texting, answering the door, monitoring the kids, and trying to prepare meals. The food catches fire the next thing you know.” As he rattles off this depiction of a life with too many diversions, I feel like he is describing my existence, yet his point is still apparent. If you’re going to cook, then cook; however, if you’re going to do five other things, then don’t. There is always a risk, but it is not nearly as great as cooking on an unsupervised burner or leaving the house with the oven on.
Kids in the Kitchen: Be Wary
When you’re cooking, pot and pan handles should always be turned away from you, and blades should be kept far from the edge of the counter. This goes double for little children. In addition to the potential for burns if a youngster were to seize a pot full of scorching liquid and drag it down on themselves, spilt oil has the added potential for starting a fire.
Do Not Place Flammable Materials near Heat Sources
Cooking may rapidly become messy, and counter clutter can readily accumulate. However, pay attention to what is situated just next to the stovetop. Even if it is not in direct contact with the flame, a carelessly placed paper towel or other flammable object still has the potential to catch fire.
Don the Right Clothes
There is a place and a time for airy silk robes and feathered boas, but the kitchen is not one of them. Excessive fabric and loose clothing raise the possibility of an accidently starting fire. (While quite relaxing, cooking naked is perilous in a different way.)
Similar to how loose or strappy clothing is more prone to snag and unintentionally pull pots off cooktops. An unknown staff member just appeared in the Serious Eats test kitchen wearing a really good mechanic’s uniform. The only issue was that as this guy walked past, the towel hoop on one of the jumpsuit’s legs hooked a cabinet door handle, pulling the door off its hinges.
Observe cooking temperature ranges
The smoke point of an oil is well known, but the considerably more dramatic flash point is less frequently discussed. The oil’s flash point, though, which occurs when it is hot enough to spontaneously catch fire, is a rather terrifying event. For this reason, while you are frying food, you should always be aware of the temperature of the oil.
Purge the Kitchen
There are numerous benefits to keeping your kitchen spotless. In addition to making it slightly less combustible, it deters pests and lowers the possibility of cross contamination. Are you able to ignite? Yes, the thin layer of sticky vaporized oil that coats shabby cabinets and equipment can aid in the spread of a fire more quickly than it might otherwise.
Know Where and How to Use Your Fire-Suppression Equipment
The easiest ways to put out a fire are to either pour a box of baking soda on top of it or cover the flames with a lid or baking sheet (particularly if the fire is restricted to a pan). Knowing where the lids, baking sheets, and baking soda are in any kitchen can help you to immediately grab them rather than frantically searching as the flames spread. A fire extinguisher is another alternative, although Kozo is cautious to caution that it will only be helpful if you have the correct kind and understand how to use it. One requires a lot of upkeep, he claims. “To make sure you have enough pressure, you should test it once a month to make sure the gauge on top is in the green.”
What to Do if a Kitchen Fire Gets Out of Hand
- If the fire is too big for you to safely fight, grab your family and run since you may not have much time to escape. Run with your family in tow. Since your life is at danger, refrain from attempting to salvage any items.
- As you run, shut all doors behind you. While running from a fire is terrible, you must pay attention to one thing at this time: locking all doors along your escape path. Some of the worst fire catastrophes have occurred when people fled but left doors open in their wake, allowing the fire to quickly spread throughout the building. By physically isolating the fire, closing doors gives people more time to flee and gives firemen more time to put out the fire.
- Only if you can or should, warn your neighbors. Your neighbors are at danger if you reside in a structure that is not fireproof (ask your building or municipality how it is classified). However, don’t let that prevent you from making the urgent 911 call or escaping safely on your own. If you can safely warn them, you should. You shouldn’t warn your neighbors because the structure is built to stop a fire from spreading; in this situation, they are typically safer where they are.
- If you haven’t already, dial 911 as soon as you feel secure.