Kitchen Grease Fire
Kitchen Fire Safety:
At Fire Fighting Training schools they demonstrate this with a deep fat fryer set in an open field. An instructor would don a fire suit and using an 8 oz cup at the end of a 10 foot pole toss water onto the grease fire. (The results got the attention of the students.) The water, being heavier than the oil, sinks to the bottom where it instantly becomes superheated. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. On the open field, it became a thirty foot high fireball that resembled a nuclear blast. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fireball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.
Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.
Extinguishing a Grease Fire
Grease fires happen when collections of oil or grease on a stove, oven or fryer get hot enough to ignite. Grease fires are extremely dangerous because the fuel source (the grease) is a liquid, and easily splashed. Grease fires burn very hot and can quickly spread to cabinets or other flammable areas of the kitchen.
The most important thing you can do to prevent a fire in the kitchen is to stay put while cooking. The NFPA reports that unattended cooking is the leading cause of home cooking fires. Stay by the stove and be prepared for flames.
You only have a few moments to either put out a grease fire or escape the house.
- DO NOT USE WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! (see Tips) Start evacuating everyone from the building. Fires spread extremely fast and can overwhelm victims in minutes. Treat burns only after evacuating the building.
- Turn off the Burner! The fire might go out with this simple step.
- Call 911. There's no reason to wait, Rocky Mountain Fire will be there to assist even if you manage to get the fire out.
- The easiest way to smother a grease fire is to cover it with a pan lid. Be careful with glass lids; they can break from the extreme heat of open flame.
- Grease fires can also be smothered with baking soda, but it takes a lot of baking soda to do the trick. Unless the baking soda is easily accessible, it's usually easier to quickly find a lid.
- A dry chemical fire extinguisher will also work, but it will contaminate your kitchen and food. Class K fire extinguishers are available to put out grease and other kitchen fires, but they are usually only found in commercial kitchens.
- A newly developed fire extinguishing spray is now available. Highly effective on common household fires including grease fires. Dispensed from a common aerosol spray can.
- DO NOT PUT WATER ON A GREASE FIRE! This can not be stressed enough. Pouring water on burning grease or oil will not extinguish the fire. It will only cause the burning oil to splash, spreading the grease fire around.
- DO NOT TRY TO CARRY THE FIRE OUTSIDE! Trying to carry a pot or pan full of burning oil will just slosh and splash the grease fire.
- Treat burns only after the fire is contained or the building is completely evacuated. Call 911 if a serious burn is experienced.
- If clothes are caught on fire; STOP, DROP, and ROLL to extinguish them.