According to the National Fire Protection Association, cooking causes about 43% of household fires in America. Massachusetts is no exception. In sheer surface area, cooking areas take up a minimal portion of the entire home. However, kitchens have all the necessary ingredients for a fire: a charred meal, some overheated oil, flammable wooden cabinets, and a little forgetfulness. Of course, if a house fire ever ravages your kitchen, All Brite Restoration in Concord is here to help. But for your benefit, here is a quick guide to staying fire-free this summer season.
Oil and grease fires
As the bane of common house fires, grease is one of the toughest fires to extinguish. But with a few basic tricks fresh in your memory, you’ll be able to obliterate greasy flames quickly and effectively.
- Never use water
You’ve heard this before, but there’s science to back it up. Since oil is hydrophobic (water-fearing), any water dumped on the grease fire will sink to the bottom of the pan and evaporate immediately, spreading flaming oil everywhere.
- Smother it
Obviously, fires need oxygen to burn. Cut off the oxygen source by putting a lid (or an upside-down pan) over the fire to smother it. Then, turn off the heat source. If the situation is safe, carefully move the pan away from the heating unit.
- Use a chemical extinguisher
If the fire has spread too much to smother, find your nearest fire extinguisher. Because of the reasons mentioned above, make sure that your extinguisher isn’t water-based. (Most kitchen extinguishers aren’t).
- Use baking soda
Another way to suffocate an existing fire is to use baking soda. Tear off the top of a baking soda box and carefully dump the contents onto the fire. Salt also works. Do not substitute flour, sugar, or baking powder. These substances can explode and spread the fire to surrounding surfaces.
- Take your spatula with you
Consider this: You’ve been in the bathroom blow-drying your hair for 15 minutes. You start to think about what to make for dinner when you realize that dinner has already been started….and it’s fried chicken. You rush into the kitchen and realize that little flames are already licking your long-gone dinner.
Countless kitchen fires start with neglect. Understandably, food is easy to forget about. However, next time you’re in danger of leaving your food unattended, take your cooking utensil with you. It’s much harder to forget about dinner when there’s a spatula on your bathroom counter.
Electrical and Appliance Fires
Electrical fires, especially in the kitchen, are a recipe for disaster. They are hard to predict, but can safely be extinguished with some reasonable thinking and basic safety measures. Be sure to remember these next tips in case an electrical fire ever starts in your kitchen.
- Shut off the heat source
If your oven, microwave, toaster, or any other appliance in your kitchen catches fire, immediately cut off the heat source. Whether this is done by turning off the breaker that fuels the kitchen or by simply unplugging the appliance (if it is safe to do so), cutting off the heat is critical to suffocating a fire.
- Use a dry chemical fire extinguisher
In the moment, chemical fires can be terrifying—only because they are foreign to us. Having a dry chemical fire extinguisher is an investment in your home that can save lots of money in repairs. If you don’t have one of these, get one. They can be used to extinguish nearly any electrical fire.
- Keep cloth away
It may be natural to fan the flame with a dish towel (or an apron) like shown in 80’s movies. Don’t! The fire can easily spread to the towel leaving you with two fires and a healthy distrust in 80’s movies.
- Call 911
Calling 911, especially for children, may seem like a move of defeat. Utilize your resources and don’t be afraid to call. Trained professionals have the expertise and bandwidth necessary to put out a full-fledged kitchen fire faster than most homeowners.
These tips and tricks should give you a little bit more confidence in dealing with kitchen fires. As soon as the fire is safely put out and your family members are safe, you’ll have a hefty cleaning job on your hands. And while it may look easy, fire restoration has many complex components. All Brite Cleaning and Restoration in Concord offers 24/7 restoration services. So, if you’ve incurred fire damage, kitchen or otherwise, don’t hesitate to contact All Brite in Concord.