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Helpful Tips to Put Out a Grease Fire

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Nobody wants to deal with a kitchen fire, especially a grease fire. Grease fires are notorious for spreading quickly and being difficult to control. If you don’t get a grease fire under control quickly, your whole kitchen could be up in flames before you know it. Grease fires have been known to consume entire homes and they cause over 450 deaths every year.  There’s a lot of false assumptions out there about how to put out a grease fire, and false assumptions can be very dangerous. We’re here to set the record straight and give you some tips to prevent and put out grease fires. 

What is a Grease Fire and How Do They Happen?

Simply put, a grease fire happens when cooking oil becomes too hot. Oil will first start to boil, then smoke, then catch fire. The smoking point of oil will depend on which type of oil it is. Animal fats will start smoking at a lower temperature than vegetable oils. Animal fats typically start to smoke at around 375 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas vegetable oils typically start smoking at around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If you can catch the smoke beforehand, you will likely be able to prevent a grease fire. Quickly turn down the heat or carefully remove the pot from the burner. 

Do Not Use Water

Typically, you put out a fire by spraying it with water or smothering it, right? However, you never want to do this with grease fires. Water will actually feed the fire and make it worse. This is because oil and water do not interact; in fact, they repel each other. So the water, which is denser than oil, actually sinks to the bottom of the pan below the oil. Since the pan is hot, the water boils and evaporates pretty much instantly. When the water turns from a liquid to a gas (steam), the water molecules fly from the pan and bring some of the flaming grease with them. As a result, the fire increases in size very quickly. For the same reason, do not attempt to smother the fire with a wet rag.

Don’t Use a Water-Based Fire Extinguisher, Either

You know not to use straight water or a wet rag to put out a grease fire, but can you use a water-based extinguisher? Unfortunately, the answer is no. A water-based extinguisher will cause the same problems as straight water. 

How Do I Put Out a Grease Fire?

Now that you know how not to put out a grease fire, how do you actually put it out? The first step is to try to smother the flames. As mentioned previously, do not use a rag. Instead, use a cookie sheet or metal lid to cover the fire. Don’t use a glass lid. It will shatter. Smothering the fire and depriving it of oxygen as soon as possible should extinguish it, as fires cannot exist without oxygen. Turn off the heat source immediately. Do not attempt to move the pan off of the heat source. You may spill the flaming oil and seriously injure yourself or someone else. It’s a good idea to keep a Class B dry chemical extinguisher around the house. If the fire gets too large, try spraying the base of the fire with it. However, if the fire continues to spread, don’t continue trying to put it out. Get out of the house and call 911. 

What if The Fire Gets Out of Control?

If the fire gets too big and ends up damaging your home, the first thing to do is to take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. You and your family are the top priority- as long as you are all out safe, that’s what matters. Of course, your property and your home are priorities as well. If you have damage or destruction, there are restoration companies that can help you. These companies can restore and/or remodel your home, as well as performing data recovery services, roofing, and more. 

Do You Have Fire Damage?

If you have a disaster that affects your home, contact Americon Restoration for help! Our experienced professionals can help restore your home after a fire. We know you may have concerns about COVID-19 and we want to assure you that we are doing everything in our power to keep our employees and our customers healthy and safe. As an essential business, we are still open to serve you. Americon Restoration is taking all necessary precautions before entering our customers’ homes. We want you and your family to feel safe and stay healthy! Please contact us through our website or by phone at (216) 221-5200.