How Do Grease Fires Start?
Thanksgiving is the peak holiday, besides Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, for cooking fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fire departments responded to about 1,570 fires on Thanksgiving in 2016. Grease fires happen when cooking oil becomes too hot. If the temperature gets too high, the oil begins smoking and then becomes at risk of catching on fire. Before you light up the fire to fry a turkey or turn the stove on to make a scrumptious side dish this Thanksgiving, know how to prevent a grease fire from injuring you, your family, and your home.
Tips to Prevent a Grease Fire
- Pay Careful Attention
The number one tip to keep in mind while cooking your feast is to never stop paying attention to what’s going on in your kitchen. With so many dishes to cook, it can be easy to forget one on the backburner until you see plumes of smoke. Enlist some of your family and friends to help out in the kitchen and keep and eye on things so nothing gets forgotten.
- Use a Thermometer
Oil needs to be kept at a certain temperature, or else you risk burning your cooking oil and sparking a grease fire. Remember to use a kitchen thermometer and heat oil slowly so it doesn’t reach a burning temperature. The smoking point of vegetable oils is around 450 degrees.
How Not to Put Out a Grease Fire
- Do NOT Use Liquid
One thing you should not do is panic and throw any liquid like water onto a grease fire. This will cause the oil to splash and potentially spread the fire throughout your kitchen or cooking area.
- Don’t Try to Carry the Pot Outside
This might be the second thing that comes to mind when a grease fire happens. It might seem like the right thing to try to do, but carrying a hot pot with burning grease may cause more damage to you and your home. While carrying it, you risk spilling hot grease and seriously burning yourself.
- Don’t Fan the Flames
Another reaction that should be avoided is fanning the flames of a grease fire. The oxygen from the fanning only gives the fire the power to grow. Fanning could also cause the grease to splash, spreading the fire throughout the kitchen.
How to Properly Put Out a Grease Fire
- Turn Off the Heat
The first thing you should do is turn off the heat. This way the amount of heat slowly dies. It might not be the fastest way to kill the fire but is a recommended method by fire officials.
- Cover the Pot/Pan Immediately
In a panic, don’t go to grab water to put out the fire, just take a large lid and simply put it on top of the flames. This cuts off the oxygen to the fire and lets it die down on its own. Exercise caution before you start cooking and keep the lid of the pot or pan on the counter next to the stove.
- Use a Fire Extinguisher
Always keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies like grease fires. Fire extinguishers are made to take on minor house fires like ones that happen in the kitchen. If a fire ever gets too out of control then call your local fire department for assistance.
- Call CLEAR Restoration for Fire Restoration Services
If your Thanksgiving dinner plans go awry and you’re left with fire damage, call CLEAR Restoration to restore your home. Our experienced team will arrive quickly and address all safety and structural concerns so you can have a peace of mind continuing on with the holidays.