The leading cause of injuries and home fires is the cooking fire. This includes frying. Although you might not be faced with a grease fire every single day, it is important to be prepared. We’ve all been there. It happens: A pot of oil is forgotten and left on the stove, where it burns away until it’s too late. Although it may seem impossible to extinguish a grease fire, don’t panic.
In this post, you will learn how to properly and safely put out a grease fire and what materials are safe to use, so you can feel more confident in the kitchen.
What causes a Grease Fire?
Grease fires are caused by cooking oil that has become too hot and starts to smoke, then ignites. Vegetable oils catch fire at around 450 Ferenhite. Animal fats catch fire at around 375 Ferenhite. It doesn’t take long for them both to reach these temperatures. Grease fires are very easy to start and can spread quickly. These are the most common reasons that a fire might start in your kitchen.
- A stovetop heats up too fast and oil gets too hot.
- Frozen food can be thrown onto hot grease and caused to smoke.
- You are cooking a greasy meal that drips into the oven and ignites flames.
- Your stove or oven has been left unattended for an extended period of time, or even just a few seconds.
While careful cooking is the best way to prevent a grease fire, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid an accident.
How common are grease fires?
The 2020 National Fire Protection Association report showed that cooking was the leading cause of home fires and injuries. Unattended equipment was responsible for about 30% of home fires and more than 50% of all deaths.
How hot can a grease-fire get?
Grease fires usually start when the smoke point of cooking oil is around 400-450 degrees fahrenheit.
How long does it take for a pan of grease that isn’t being used to catch on fire?
A pan taking 20 seconds to light can take up to 30 minutes. When you fry, it is important to remain in the kitchen. Be careful to control the oil temperature and not let food get too hot. Keep the oil splatter to a minimum. To reduce the chance of a grease fire, always use a lid for frying.
Below are four tips to help you quickly contain a grease fire.
1. Use a large lid to cover the fire.
First, you need to put out the flames as fast as possible. A large lid can be used to cover the fire. To reduce the chance of burning, you can grip the lid with a towel. This first step can be done with a long, flat pan such as a baking sheet. Before removing the lid, let it cool completely. Don’t burn yourself!
It is dangerous to move the pan outside with flames. It is too dangerous! The pan will heat up quickly and get hotter each second. You may end up burning yourself if the pan is taken outside. You can burn yourself by dropping the pan on the ground and spreading the fire around your house. So, avoid the temptation to take the pan outside.
2. Turn off the burner.
Once you have the fire under control, it is important to turn off the heat. The heat can be left on to keep the fire burning. This increases the danger of the fire getting too large.
3. Pour a large amount of baking soda onto small fires.
Baking soda is the best way to extinguish a fire. Baking soda won’t work well with large fires, but it is very effective for smaller fires.
Never use water to put out a grease fire. The cooking oil will splash when you add water to it. This can spread the flames to other parts of the kitchen. You could also burn yourself if you are using incredibly hot oil.
Only use baking soda or salt to put out a grease fire. It is easy to mistake baking soda or salt for baking powder or flour.
4. You can still put out the fire with your fire extinguisher.
Baking soda won’t suffice if the fire is becoming too difficult to control. Each kitchen must have at least one. It could be located on the wall, or in a cabinet. Make sure to locate it next time you cook!
What can you put out a grease fire with?
Below are some of the other things you can use to put out a grease fire.
Can you use salt to extinguish a grease fire?
Yes! A grease fire can be put out using salt. In fact, it’s one of the greatest chemicals for putting out a grease fire, along with baking soda. To burn, a fire requires oxygen. Salt suffocates it, preventing it from gaining access to oxygen, putting out the fire. Larger fires may necessitate the use of a lot of salt.
Can you use baking soda to extinguish a grease fire?
Yes! Baking soda can be used to light a grease fire. Baking soda is not as effective at putting out fires as salt. It’s best to extinguish small fires.
Can you use baking powder?
No! Baking powder is highly flammable and will not help you contain the fire, use baking soda instead.
Can you use vinegar to extinguish a grease fire?
No! Do not use vinegar. Vinegar can splash oil all over grease fires, just like water. This can lead to a fire hazard. Use dry ingredients such as baking soda and salt. They deprive the fire’s oxygen.
Can you use flour to light a fire in a grease pot?
No! Flour should not be used on a grease-fired stove. Starch burns fast and small grains of flour quickly combust. Instead, sprinkle it with salt or baking soda.
Can you use milk to light a fire in a grease-fire?
No! Avoid pouring milk on a grease fire. Oil can splash, which can cause severe burns and spread the fire! You can contain the oil better by using baking soda or salt to put out the fire. If this doesn’t work, you can use your fire extinguisher.
Can cooking oil spontaneously combust?
This is true, but it’s extremely rare. Each oil has a smoke temperature, which is typically between 400 and 450 degrees. To spontaneously ignite the oil, however, it would need to be twice as hot at 700 to 800 degrees.
Petroleum and cooking oils are very hot to burn and won’t spontaneously combust if they don’t undergo some forced oxidation.
Proper storage is necessary to prevent this from happening. They should not be mixed with any other materials as this can lead to oxidation 2. They should be kept at temperatures well below that of combustion. You won’t have spontaneous combustion if you store them in a sealed container that is not likely to react with the material (glass, plastic and most metal containers).
You will not have any chance of oil spontaneously combusting unless you dispose of oil-soaked rags properly. This has a small chance that it could self-heat when it is mixed with other materials. If it reaches critical temperatures for the oxidizing agents (O2) it will then start to burn.
Why does water not work on a grease fire?
Water will spray the cooking oil around the kitchen instead of trying to extinguish or smother a grease fire. This could cause severe burns and spread fire to other parts of your kitchen. To reduce flame spread, avoid using liquids on grease-fires.
Baking soda and salt are the best chemicals. For large fires, you have difficulty containing, use your fire extinguisher.
It may be a good idea for people who live together to learn how to light a fire. Everyone should be on the same page. Everyone should feel safe.
If you liked this article, please check out the other articles on home improvement.
To lower the chance of a grease fire, consider investing in a professional range hood.
Check out this classic video on how to put out a kitchen fire called Putting out kitchen grease fires from the YouTube channel.
In this post, we covered how to put out a grease fire.
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