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Grease Fires

Grease FireGrease fires happen when a collection of grease or oil on a stove, oven, or fryer come in contact with a lit flame or become hot enough to ignite. Grease fires are extremely dangerous because it is a liquid and can spread rapidly and is easily splashed. This can cause the fire to spread to cabinets, furniture, and other flammable areas of the kitchen.

 The best way to deal with a grease fire is to prevent it. The number one way to stop a grease fire is to stay by the stove or fryer at all times. The most serious fires have occurred when food is left to cook on its own. Some other helpful hints are:

 Heat oil slowly. If your cooking oil gets heated too fast it can easily become flammable and spread through your kitchen or cooking area.

 Keep things away from the oil that is being heated. Be careful not to have any liquids close to the pan. If water spills into a hot pan filled with grease it will immediately turn into steam. The steam will spew the hot grease into every direction. As the hot grease lands onto other items (dish towel, counter tops….) the fire can quickly become out of control.

 Deep Fryers can be dangerous. If you are using a deep fryer use extra caution when is come to cords that can be pulled or tangled by people and especially children walking around the area. Also make sure the fryer is not close to the edge of the counter where there is a greater risk that it can get tipped over.

 Don’t overfill your pot. To avoid over filling your fryer first put some cold oil into the pot, lower the food you wish to fry and then add more oil as needed. Once the oil is heated add foods carefully. Pat down food with a paper towel to make sure that the food isn’t holding any water. Lower the food gently with tongs, a long fork, or recommended frying devices. Never drop food into the fryer because they can cause the oil to splatter.

 Be prepared. Keep the lid to the pot nearby and make sure it fits properly. Watch out for glass lids, they can break from exposure to the extreme heat of an open flame. Once the lid is secure the flames will go out by themselves due to the lack of oxygen. Only after the lid is secure you should then turn off the flame. Don’t remove the lid until the pot is completely cooled, this can take up to 30 minutes. If the grease is still extremely hot it can reignite and splatter.  Also have oven mitts or thick pot holders nearby to prevent your hands from being burned.

 Smothering the flame. If you don’t have a lid handy a grease fire can be smothered with baking soda. Flour is not recommended to smother a grease fire because flour is potentially combustible. Using a wet towel can cause the pan to tip over and cause the fire to spread. You also have the risk of the towel itself catching on fire.

 If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the flame and keep the door closed. Make sure that the oven has cooled completely to prevent the chance of the fire reigniting. It is recommended to wait at least 1 hour because ovens tend to cool down slowly.

 Never pick up a pan that is on fire.  A pan that is engulfed in flames can spill and spread rapidly. Also you greatly increase the change of getting burned or catching your clothes on fire.

 Treat any burns only after the fire is out. You should have ointment that can treat minor burns handy, if your burns are severe go to the emergency room. If your clothes catch on fire remember STOP, DROP, AND ROLL.

 Call 911. You can always call and have the fire department go back to the station if you are able to put the fire out yourself.

 Have a fire extinguisher on hand. Both a Class B and a Class K are effective in putting out flammable liquids such as grease and oil, but remember that a fire extinguisher can potentially spread the flames of a grease fire as you try to put it out so be careful when you are using it.