How to Safely Put Out a Kitchen Fire

Tis’ the season for cooking, baking and frying. If you’re like many Americans, you spend the next two months hosting family and friends with big meals and that can unfortunately mean having to potentially deal with a kitchen fire. According to the NFPA, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the peak holidays for home cooking blazes.

This holiday season if you find yourself with a microwave or oven fire, here are a few things you can do to prevent small fires from becoming disastrous:

  1. Keep the door closed.
  2. Turn off the appliance or unplug it entirely if possible.
  3. Let the fire burn out in the enclosed space. Do not open the appliance until the
  4. fire is completely out.

If you find yourself with a stovetop fire, the most important thing is to never throw water
onto the flames. This will only make things worse. A good habit to practice, in order to
reduce the severity of potential fire, is to pull the lid out (whether you need one or not)
that matches the pot or pan you’re going to use. Having a metal lid handy while cooking
is a great safety precaution. If a fire does start, you can grab the metal lid and quickly
extinguish the flames. If you don’t have a lid, a baking sheet large enough to cover the
entire top of your pot/pan will also do the trick.

Oil and grease fires can happen in the blink of an eye. Here are a few tips if you find yourself in this situation:

  1. Cover the flames with a metal lid or baking sheet.
  2. Turn off the heat source.
  3. If it’s a manageable fire, you can pour baking soda or salt onto it to smother the flames.
  4. Last resorts, spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher.

If you’re wondering when you should call for help, here’s a few things to consider:

  1. Is the fire too large to manage?
  2. Is the fire growing rapidly?
  3. What’s feeding the fire?
  4. Is there something in the immediate vicinity that can feed the fire?
  5. Are there people in the house that depend on you to evacuate them?

If any of these are “yes,” you should call 911 and let the professionals handle it. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially if there are people inside the home that need to be evacuated to safety.