A grease fire occurs when cooking oil gets hot enough to ignite.
The best way to prevent grease fires is to stay in the kitchen when cooking with oil. It takes just an instant for an unattended pan left on the stove to catch fire. If the worst happens and a grease fire occurs, here are a few tips to remember.
Turn Off the Heat Source
If a pan of oil catches fire, turn off the cooktop — if you can do it safely. Often if you remove the heat source, the fire will go out on its own. On a related note, if the oil starts smoking turn the heat off immediately and keep an eye on it — never try to move a pan that contains hot oil.
Keep a Lid Nearby
If oil in a pan catches fire, slide the lid from front to back over the pan. With the lid on (and the heat off), you are removing the fire’s oxygen source and it’ll burn out on its own. Remember to use a metal lid since glass will shatter.
Never Use Water
Pouring water on a grease fire can cause an explosive effect, spreading the hot oil and fire over a much wider area. You can pour baking soda on a small fire to extinguish it. Take care to only aim for the flames – splashing too much baking soda into the hot oil can result in additional damage.
Always, Always, Always
Have a good fire extinguisher and/or fire blanket nearby. If you choose to utilize a fire extinguisher, make sure it has a Class B rating. Class B is designed for fires started by flammable liquids: grease, kerosene, oil or gas. Some fire extinguishers are rated Class K; these are especially effective against cooking oil fires — think K for “Kitchen!” Fire blankets are helpful to put out a fire quickly by just laying the blanket over the pan. They are also handy for putting out fires that have spread to clothing or other areas of the kitchen.
If it is not safe to try and put out the fire using any of the methods above, quickly and safely get out of the house and call 9-1-1!