If you're familiar with grease fires, you know how unexpected they can be. All it takes is for some grease to start heating in a pan for too long for it to spur into flame. What results is a quick, frightening experience that can result in a house fire.

Fires in the home have a few causes, with cooking being number one. And, according to FEMA, it's not even close. Cooking fires make up 50.2% of residential fires, followed distantly by heating fires at 9.3%.

Let's explore more info about grease fires, what causes them, and how to put out a grease fire in your kitchen.

What Is A Grease Fire?

blue stovetop flame that causes a grease fire
Hot oil and an unattended stove is all it takes for a grease fire to start

When oil becomes too hot, it starts to boil. Smoke follows, and then it catches fire, and it can burn out of control. What follows is a grease fire. The smoking point for vegetable oils is 450 °F.

Grease fires can spread quickly and dangerously. What results is severe fire damage. In many cases, it's possible to put out a fire on your own with some quick thinking.

How To Put Out A Grease Fire

Your pan is on fire; what do you do? Follow these steps to put out a grease fire and prevent a house fire and subsequent fire damage.

Evaluate The Fire

If the fire is too large or out of control, call 911 immediately. Even if the fire is small and you're in no shape to battle a fire, call 911. Don't put your life on the line.

Turn Off The Heat

Before moving anything, turn off the burner or stove. Keeping the pan or pot heated only keeps the fire roaring.

Cut Off Oxygen

Use a lid to cover your pan or pot. Putting (metal) lids over the fire cut down its oxygen source, effectively extinguishing it. Using plastic or ceramic lids can cause further fire damage or bodily injury.

Use Baking Soda

On smaller fires, pouring baking soda (not powder) can help put them out. However, baking soda won't be enough for larger, out-of-control fires.

Use A Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers, while messy, can help you put out a grease fire. Try this as a last resort, as spraying a fire extinguisher can cause more kitchen cleanup. But beggars can't be choosers, and kitchen cleanup may not be at the front of your mind.

What NOT To Do

Just as important as putting out a fire with the methods above, avoiding these methods is vital to your safety.

Don't Use Water

There's a fire in the kitchen. Fire and water don't mix. It seems simple, right? Well, in the heat of the moment, your first inclination may be to douse your pan in water.

DO NOT do this, as water can splash oil all over your kitchen, causing massive amounts of fire damage in the process. Not to mention putting yourself in extreme danger. Water, in this case, can be the thing that elevates a fire from something manageable to something more severe.

Don't Move The Pan

Although you want to reduce the temperature, don't move the pan from the stove. When a pan burns, it's best to leave it where it is. This way, you avoid spilling oil, spreading it all over the kitchen, and potentially dousing yourself.

Avoid Swatting The Fire With A Towel

Another way people commonly stop flames in their tracks is by swatting them and smothering them with a rag or towel. Doing this with a grease fire will only make the flames larger and could even burn the fabric and put you in more danger.

Don't Use Flour Or Baking Powder

We mentioned the benefit of baking soda on small flames, but this does not translate to baking powder or flour. Salt and baking soda are the only things to use.

Grease Fire Prevention Tips

woman pouring garlic into skillet using grease fire prevention tips
Being aware and vigilant can prevent grease fires in the kitchen

Whether you're a rookie cook or an accomplished chef, these fires can sneak up on you. It can happen to anyone.

Here are some easy ways of preventing grease fires in the kitchen.

Be careful, be mindful, and you can easily prevent flames from damaging your home.

Fire Damage Cleanup In Murrieta With Five Star Restoration

If your home has extensive fire damage, the experts at Five Star Restoration in Murrieta, California, have you covered. Regardless of the cause, home repair and reconstruction experts know how to rebuild your life.

With years of fire cleanup services, Five Star Restoration helps homeowners clean up the wreckage and help repair and reconstruct structures. Not to mention getting rid of lingering smoke odors in the wake of a severe fire.

Call Five Star Restoration today to start rebuilding your home or for tips on water damage, drywall installation, or mold removal in Murrieta!

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