How to Put out a Kitchen Fire

There have been 1,628 civilian home fire fatalities reported by the U.S. News Media since January 1, 2016, to date. That means 162 people a month have died from home-related fires. Are you prepared to put out your kitchen fire?

Kitchen fires can come on fast and furious. Most people don’t even realize they are in trouble until it’s too late. Having a solid understanding of what causes kitchen fires, how to prevent a gas stove fire and electric stove fire, as well as planning for the worse case scenario are all best practices.

Prevention is Key

The first step to preparing are steps at preventing a kitchen fire in the first place. There are many factors when it comes to a kitchen stove fire. How hot your pan is, what you are cooking, if there are flammables in the area.

Keeping your kitchen clean is one of the easiest ways to not only prevent but fight a kitchen fire. The less grease and grime built up on your stove, the less fuel there is to catch fire and increase potential risk. Cleaning your kitchen stove surfaces with hard hitting degreasers will help to eliminate the possibility of kitchen fires.

Never leave your stove unattended. This means even if you are just boiling noodles. The number one reason cooking stoves catch on fire is due to a lack of presence. When you are cooking at a stove, remove any excess or loose clothing. Tie your apron securely around your waste. Don’t leave paper towels or wash cloths near your stove.

Know Your Fire Types

Understanding what “type” of fire is key to knowing which technique to use when fighting it back. A grease fire, for example, will not respond to water, in fact, it can cause the oil to react to the water exploding out of the pan.

Grease Fire

Grease fires are caused by excessive heat causing combustion of fats and oils.  Grease fires are fueled by heat, so the first step is to turn off your burner. Second, try to cover the greased pan with a well fitting lid. This removes the fire’s ability to access oxygen and burn itself out. If you are unable to find a cover, then try smothering the fire out using baking soda, and a lot of it.

Oven Fires

An oven fire is just like it sounds, a fire that is contained within your oven area. These types of fires are not all uncommon, and understanding how to deal with them is just as important as the stove top fire. The first rule of thumb if you suspect an oven fire is for the love of God, leave the door closed!

Turn off all your burners, including your oven dial. The goal is to let the fire die out on it’s own. If the fire does not appear to die out within a few moments, then vacate your home and call 911 immediately. If your fire is under control, prepare to open the door and remove the smoldering pot or pan. Remember, the oven will be very smoky and hot so be extremely careful when retrieving your pan.

Appliance Fires

The final type of fire is more of an electrical fire caused by a faulty appliance. If your kitchen stove appears to be smoking and on fire and you can’t determine if it’s coming from the stove top or oven, then turn off your gas, vacate the premises and contact 911.

If you can identify where to fire is coming from, then using baking soda is an option for a small flame, otherwise, break out the big guns and blast the stove area with a fire extinguisher.

Know Your Stove Types

Just because you own an electrical stove-top does not mean you are impervious to kitchen fires. While it is true that an open flame has more potential to catch things on fire, heat causes combustion. So every kitchen stove type deserves your utmost respect.

Gas Stove – One of the biggest risks of owning a gas stove is not the fire itself, but the potential for your gas source to ignite and cause an explosion. The first step in any fire is to turn off the heat source. In this case, it’s turning off all your gas nobs to the stove.

Electric Stove – Electric ovens do not suffer the same fate. However they still pose a threat when it comes to fire. If your electric stove top comes in contact with the combustible material, then it will ignite. 99% of the time, only turning off your electronic dial will do the trick. Then all you have to worry about is putting out the current flame.

Understand How to Use a Fire Extinguisher

Most of us have never even thought about using a fire extinguisher. But when you are facing a raging fire, little time is available to read the instructions. Taking time to understand the basics of how to use this fire tool is key to putting out the flame.

  • Pull the pin located at the top of the level while you hold the extinguisher in an upright position.
  • Aim the nozzle of the extinguisher directly at the fire, pointing it at the source of origin.
  • Squeeze the lever of the extinguisher.
  • Make sweeping motions to cover the area by moving side to side.

Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home disasters for many Americans, but you don’t have to live in fear when cooking your favorite dish. Instead, having a basic understanding of how to prevent kitchen fires, what to use with various stove top fire types, and how to plan for a potential fire is all the preparation you need to have a safe cooking experience.

Remember, fire requires fuel, so by removing the fuel source, you are winning half the battle. Turn off your gas immediately, don’t leave paper towels or other combustible’s near the stove top, always stay with your fire, and have a good fire extinguisher on the site just in case.