I have yet to come across anything quite as scary as being caught in the middle of a fire. For those readers that don’t yet know my story, a bad house fire was one of the things that got me into prepping to begin with.
I lived in some shared accommodation here in my hometown when the smoke alarms started going off. I came out of my room upstairs to the hallway being full of nothing but thick black smoke. It was a scary situation to find myself in, that’s for sure. Luckily we had enough fire extinguishers in the property to keep the fire under control until the fire crews arrived.
Grease fires are one of the most common causes of fires in the home so it is only right that we put some of our attention on to this subject. Every second really does count but there is some very bad advice out there about which kitchen ingredients can and can’t be used to extinguish a grease fire in the kitchen. We are going to try and clear things up here by telling you exactly what can and can’t be used though nothing is quite as effective as a proper fire extinguisher.
If you notice the oil smoking, immediately remove it from the heat to prevent ignition.
Grease Fire Prevention Tips
Grease fires are the number one cause of fire-related deaths in the home. The best thing that anybody can do is to not necessarily just find out how to extinguish a grease fire. The first step is to PREVENT it from starting up in the first place. You can only save lives and reduce damage if you know what to do correctly. Mistakes can kill!
We recommend that you print these tips off and keep them somewhere they can easily be accessed should the time come. Share them on social media and of course, to all your loved ones, too.
Follow our grease prevention tips shown below:
- Never leave anything on the stove unattended. It only takes around 30 seconds for that smoke to turn into flames.
- Never attempt to do any cooking when under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Never try to cook when tired.
- Before cooking any food, remove as much moisture from it as you can. Frozen food should never be put directly into hot grease.
- Monitor the temperature of the grease at all times.
- Don’t try to rush the heating-up process. Heat the oil slowly.
- When placing the food into the oil, do so slowly to avoid oil splatter.
- Keep recommended ingredients nearby (see below). These will help if you need to smother the flame.
- Cookie sheets should be stored near the stove but not underneath. They won’t be of any help if that area is inaccessible.
- Always keep a metal pot lid next to where you’re working in case of fire.
- Consider investing in a Class K fire extinguisher.
- Keep all flammable items away from stove where they could ignite.
Kitchen Ingredients that Work with Grease Fires
If you haven’t yet had the chance to invest in a proper fire extinguisher then you need to keep some things close at hand in case of fire. These ingredients listed here are perfectly safe to use on a grease fire. When possible, remove the heat source first before trying to remove the oxygen by using your metal pot lid. If this doesn’t work then it is time to look at other methods.
- Salt – I don’t think that I’ve ever been in a kitchen that didn’t have salt. The great thing is that salt is actually very good at extinguishing grease fires. You will need to pour quite a bit of salt in but it is better than having to watch your house burn down.
- Baking Soda – the second ingredient that you can use is baking soda. Baking soda releases carbon dioxide into the fire and smothering the flames. It does require a lot more baking soda than it does salt but if it’s there, use it.
Kitchen Ingredients that Don’t Work with Grease Fires
Well, we have had a look at the two ingredients from your kitchen that can be safely used to extinguish a grease fire. Now, it is time to look at those things that you should NOT do to a kitchen fire. Attempting to put any of the following onto the fire can make the situation much worse.
- Water – we grow up understanding that water extinguishes flames but this is far from a good idea if it is a grease fire. Remember, oil and water just don’t mix. Cold water in hot oil can lead to splashing of the oil making the fire worse.
- Flour – I remember after we had had our fire a friend of mine jokingly stated “you should have put flour on it.” Our fire wasn’t hot oil but it just goes to show how wide these rumors spread. The flour can end up igniting.
- Baking Powder – please don’t get this confused with baking soda mentioned in the section above. Baking soda CAN be used but baking powder CAN’T.
- Sugar – if it wasn’t so dangerous I would find it funny that this one is going round. Sugar is flammable so I’m not really sure how it was meant to put a fire out.
- Wet Towel – a wet dish towel can cause a grease fire to flare up, or knock the pan over and spread.
So we know that some ingredients will extinguish grease fires while others will spread and make the fire worse. So which is your best option? Well, it’s not an ingredient at all, it’s a fire extinguisher. They are not expensive and they work. They save lives!
An extinguisher labeled for Class B or Class K is suitable for grease or oil fires.