The Risk of Gas and Electric Stove Fires
Whether you have a gas or electric stove, understanding the risk of a stove fire is imperative to your personal safety and the safety of your home and family. Each stove type offers pro’s and con’s as well as risk for a stove fire.
If you have ever fought a gas stove fire, then you know an open flame is hard to control. For those of you who have witnessed an electric stove fire, then you know that only turning off the burner does not immediately remove the source.
Our goal is to provide you with the details you need to maintain a safe kitchen space. Regardless if you only cook once a year, or if you are an aspiring chef, understanding your stove type and the risk of both a gas and electric stove fire can save your life.
While there are several best practices that apply to both the gas and electric stove, there are also key factors that differ causing each one to pose their danger and risk. So what are the differences between a gas vs. electric stove?
Gas Vs Electric
When shopping for your appliances, many are torn between purchasing a traditional gas stove vs. an electric stove. While both offer their benefits, here are some safety factors one should consider when buying your next appliance.
One of the biggest factors when cooking with a gas stove is that you are working with an open flame. Open fires pose a threat to both children and pets if left unattended.
Also, the combustion potential of miscellaneous items located near the open flame is more like to catch on fire quicker than with an electric stove. Also, gas stoves pose the risk of gas leaks, and having a carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended.
An electric stove offers safety from an open flame. However, the “heated surface” can sometimes be misleading. Causing one to accidentally place items on a hot surface and causing a fire.
Although considered safer than the gas stove, electric stoves can also cause problems if you do not keep your surfaces clean. Because of the mechanics of the electric stove, it relies on heating up the filaments and glass to produce heat. Therefore, if you have a dirty surface area, built up grime or grease, this could cause a potential fire.
Gas Stove Fire
If you do find yourself going hand to hand with a gas stove fire, then the first thing one should always do is remove the source of heat. That means turn off the gas. If you can access the knobs on the stove, then use that route. If for some reason you are unable to shut down the source of heat, the next option is to try and snuff out the fire by removing the oxygen source. Using a lid or pan that covers the pot or pan is ideal, placing the lid from front to back to help protect yourself from the flame.
After trying to turn off the gas and covering the fire does not work, the next step would be to use your fire extinguisher to put out the flames. If you are unable to quickly contain the fire, or if you do not have a fire extinguisher, then evacuate your home immediately and call the fire department.
A major risk of a gas fire is the fact that your stove is hooked up to a gas line. If you are unable to contain the fire quickly, then the risk of an explosion significantly increases.
Electric Stove Fire
Electric stove fires also require a source, in this case, it’s electricity. While electric stoves are easier to control when it comes to an open flame, that does not mean you will not be combating a flaming pan of searing grease or other open flame types.
With this in mind, the first rule still applies, turn off the heat source. If you can reach the controls, then turn off all burners. Keep in mind, unlike the gas stove, an electric stove has a “cool off” period, meaning that it takes longer for your surface to cool.
Just like a gas stove, covering your fire with a lid is recommended, following the same advice as above, cover your fire from front to back to prevent burns and control the fire direction when placing the lid on the flame. If you are still unable to contain the fire, then reach for your handy fire extinguisher.
Electric stove fires do not pose the same risk as a gas stove for an explosion, however, if you are unable to contain the fire, then calling 911 and moving to a safe distance from your home is still advised. Kitchen fires tend to be the “starting point” of a house fire, meaning that if you cannot contain the fire, it could catch your home on fire, increasing your risk of injury.
Dealing with a stove top fire requires a bit of planning, educating yourself on best practices, and of course, understanding your particular type of stove and risks. Knowing how to deal with an open flame fire vs. an electrical stove fire is very similar, but the differences can save your life.
Also, knowing the proper steps in combating a fire can also protect you and your home when faced with a real-time threat of a kitchen stove fire. So next time you are planning a meal, check to see if you have all the right equipment handy to snuff out a flame before it gets out of control. Remove any loose clothing or articles.
Check to make sure your surface is clean of grease and buildup, and of course clear off your kitchen stove top before every turning up the heat.