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What You Need to Know About Grease Fires

Every seven seconds, a house fire occurs across the U.S. On average, seven people die in homes fires daily, with cooking as a leading cause. Of the two out of five house fires that start in the kitchen, one-third result from unattended cooking.

Are you prepared for the possibility of a grease fire?

Grease fires can get out of hand in seconds. Quick thinking and proper control techniques are critical to preventing the spread of grease fires and protecting your family and home. Unfortunately, grease fires aren’t like regular fires, and attempting to extinguish them with similar methods could lead to disastrous results.

Properly handling a grease fire is essential for safety! 

If an unexpected grease fire occurs in your home…

  • Protect your skin.
    Grab nearby oven mitts - if you have time - to protect your skin.
  • Turn it off.
    Grease fires need heat to keep burning. Turning the heat off can stop the fire at its source.
  • Cover the pot.
    Using a metal lid (glass will shatter) or cookie sheet, cover the pot. Fire cannot exist without oxygen.
  • Carefully extinguish.
    Baking soda or salt will extinguish a small grease fire by smothering it, but it will take a large amount. The little box in your refrigerator may not be sufficient.
  • Wait.
    Observe the pot. Do not attempt to touch it until you are certain the fire is out and it has cooled.

If the grease fire does not go out after the above measures…

  • Try a fire extinguisher.
    If you cannot extinguish flames with the measures above, a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher can be used as a last resort in the event of a grease fire. (LINK TO HOW TO USE EXTINGUISHER?)
  • Get out!
    If you can’t get the fire under control, evacuate your home immediately and dial 9-1-1. The safety of you and your family is more important than the safety of your house.

In the event of a grease fire, NEVER do any of the following:

  • NEVER move the pot.
    You could splash burning oil on yourself – or spread the fire.
  • NEVER use water. 
    Water and oil don’t mix. Using water on a grease fire will spread the fire! Water will sink, superheat, and splatter, spreading the fire.
  • NEVER pour baking products on the fire.
    Flour and sugar make grease fires worse! Only baking soda and salt will work.
  • NEVER attempt to smother the fire with flammable materials.
    An apron, dishtowel, or other flammable fabrics will NOT smother the fire, but may fan or spread it.

The very best grease fire safety is prevention…

  • Stay in the kitchen whenever you cook with oil or grease – or cook items that release large amounts of oil or grease during heating (hamburger and bacon are prime examples).
  • Use a heavy pot with a lid when cooking with grease. A clip thermometer to monitor temperature is also a wise addition.
  • Keep the handle of pans turned inward to avoid accidental tips.
  • Allow enough space in the pan to prevent grease overflow.
  • If you notice smoke when cooking with grease, turn off the heat immediately.
  • Pay attention to heat ratings for oil. Different oils catch fire at different temperatures.
    • 450°F – most vegetable oils
    • 375°F – most animal fats/lard
  • Keep your stovetop and oven clean. Don’t neglect cleaning drip pans, which can also fuel grease fires.
  • Store combustible materials such as cookbooks and paper towels away from the stove.
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.

Are you slick enough to handle grease fires? If you’ve recently suffered a grease fire in your home, Rainbow International® has you covered. Contact us to begin the safe, speedy restoration of your home today.

Other Related Blog Posts:

7 Ways To Prevent Electrical Fires

Brush Fires: Don't Add Fuel To The Fire

Wild Fires: What To Do After Your Home Has Been Damaged