Cooking appliances, most commonly a stove or range, is the leading cause of home fires in the United States. Not surprisingly, they also rank number 1 for fire related injuries in the home. Almost all cooking fires could be prevented if you follow some simple safety tips;
- Do not leave your home while food is cooking.
- If you have to walk away from the stove to answer the door, for example, turn the burners on low or preferably off and throw a towel over your shoulder as a reminder that you are cooking.
- Stay alert! If you are sleepy, have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, ask someone else to do the cooking and go relax.
- Having a working smoke alarm will help to ensure that in the event that a fire does start, you will have plenty of time to take action. Remember to replace your batteries at least once a year.
A grease fire happens when your cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then they'll start smoking, and THEN they will catch on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking temperature around 450 degrees Farenheit, while animal fats, like lard or goose fat will start smoking around 375 degrees Farenheit.
If your oil gets too hot and catches on fire, do the following:
- Turn of the heat! Don't try to move the pot. You might accidentally splash yourself or your kitchen with burning oil. And that would be bad.
- Cover the fire with a metal lid! Fire cannot exist in the absence of oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire should quickly consume all the oxygen and put itself out. Use a metal lid since glass will shatter.
- Pour on baking soda! Baking soda will extinguish grease fires, but only if they're small. It takes a lot of baking soda to do the job.
- Spray the pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher! This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen. Still, it's better than the alternative if the fire is getting out of control.
- Get out and call 911! If the fire does break out of control, don't try to be a hero. Get out and find a phone to call 911.
DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING:
- Do Not Use Water - Pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. The vaporizing water can also carry grease particles in it, also spreading the fire.
- Do Not Move the Pot or Carry It Outside - Throwing the pot outside might seem logical in the frenzy of the moment. But trying to move the pot might splash burning oil on you, your home, and anything outside.
- Do Not Throw Any Other Baking Product On the Fire - Flour might look like baking soda, but it won't react the same. Only baking soda can help put out a grease fire.
Whether you are cooking a big holiday dinner or a late night pizza, using safe cooking practices will help keep you and your family safe.