Grease Fires | How to Put Out a Grease Fire or Cooking Oil Fire
Fire Damage

How to Properly Put Out a Grease Fire

There are many causes to house fires and there are also many ways to take preventative measures. One common cause of residential fires comes from your kitchen – grease fires. Grease fires occur in your home when cooking oil or grease gets too hot. When oil gets too hot, it will begin to smoke and can eventually ignite. In order to prevent a grease fire, you should take these safety measures.

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Stay In The Kitchen

The easiest way to prevent a grease fire is to stay in the kitchen while cooking. This ensures you can take action if the cooking oil gets too hot. When using large amounts of oil or grease it is important to use a heavy pot, with a metal lid, and monitor the pot’s temperature regularly. Use either a fry thermometer or a probe thermometer to monitor the temperate of the oil. Physically monitor the oil as it is being used – if you see smoke or smell something burning, turn down the heat or remove the pot from the burner immediately. Oil and grease will not catch fire at the first sign of smoke, but it is the first sign of a possible cooking oil fire.

How to Properly Put Out a Grease Fire

If your preventative measures have fallen through and there is a grease fire in your kitchen, there are several things you can do to put the fire out without resorting to calling professionals like the Fire Department. Bear in mind that if you do not deal with your grease fire right away, you run the risk of severe fire damage in your home.

Turn Off The Heat

You should immediately turn off the heat – do not try to move the pot, as you might spill burning oil on yourself or other flammable surfaces in your kitchen.

Smother the Fire with a Lid

Try to place the lid back on the pot. Make sure the lid is metal or other non-flammable material.  Do not use glass, as there is a chance that a glass lid may crack or shatter. Placing the lid on the pot helps put out the grease fire because it denies the fire oxygen, which it needs to continue burning.

Use Baking Soda

If it is a small fire, you can use baking soda, but keep in mind that the quantity of baking soda necessary to properly smother a fire is quite a lot, so this only works well when the fire is a small one.

Use a Fire Extinguisher

If there is nothing else you can try, attempt to use a Class B Dry Chemical Fire extinguisher. This is the last step in attempting to put out a grease fire, as the extinguisher’s chemicals will contaminate your kitchen and necessitate severe cleaning. If a grease fire is getting out of control, do not hesitate to use a fire extinguisher and call the Fire Department immediately.

Do Not Use Water to Put Out a Grease Fire

Do not use water to attempt to put out a grease fire. While this may seem counterintuitive, water and oil do not mix. Putting water on a grease or oil fire can result in oil – and flames – splashing or jumping out of the pot. This can increase the size of the oil fire and result in more smoke damage or soot damage.

Other Things to Avoid

You should likewise not attempt to move the pot or carry it outside, even though common sense seems like this should work. A grease fire in a pot means that carrying the pot might cause it to splash and ignite other areas of your home. Do not use anything besides baking soda on a grease fire. Items like flour seem like they may help, but in reality, you are only providing the fire with additional fuel.

What To Do If You Cannot Put Out a Grease or Cooking Oil Fire On Your Own

If your grease fire gets out of control and spreads to the general kitchen area or other parts of your home, make sure that you call the Fire Department right away. If this is necessary, do not enter your home until the Fire Department allows you to – this is for your own safety. In the aftermath of a cooking oil fire, you may need to call an insurance appraiser to check the damage.

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