How many times have you been faced with a kitchen fire? It may have been small; just a spark from a residual piece of aluminum foil you didn’t take off your leftovers before placing it in the microwave. Perhaps you were boiling eggs; got side tracked and forgot about it until you heard the shrill cries of the fire alarm because the eggs got so burnt they caught on fire?
Fires are scary. They can start with a simple little spark then ignite into a towering inferno within seconds. I’m saying this to scare you, but the harsh reality is, kitchen fires are one of the leading causes of death in this country. The quicker you can extinguish kitchen fire, the better the outcome will be.
Classes of fire extinguishers
All fire extinguishers are not created equally. There are different ones for each type of fire. Before I learned anything about fire safety, I thought the whole class was just a racket to sell more extinguishers. After taking a fire safety course, I realized each one has its own purpose.
- Class A: ordinary combustibles like cloth, wood, and paper.
- Class B: flammable liquids like grease, gasoline, and oil
- Class C: electrical appliances and tools
- Class D: flammable metals (mostly in factories)
- Class K: vegetable oils, animal oils, or fats in cooking appliances
There is no need to have every type of fire extinguisher out there. Since we’re just talking about the kitchen, you’re going to need to get yourself one that is specific for households, such as a combination A-B-C extinguisher.
The National Fire Protection Association does recommend every home have a fire extinguisher on every floor in their home. But that’s your call if you want to do that. Me; I’d be too afraid my kids would start fighting, find the fire extinguishers, and use it on each other. If you have boys, I’m sure this may have crossed your mind.
Just make sure you get at least one for the kitchen. Okay?
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You can find kitchen fire extinguishers just about at any big box store, but the Home Depot has a really cool extinguisher called the Fireman – 1 Shot Fire Extinguishing Spray. This looks more like some canned air than a fire extinguisher. You can score yourself one for $31.99.
What I like about the Fireman – 1 Shot Fire Extinguishing Spray is, it has a combination of the classes A-B-C-K. Most I found on the market were just classified as A-B-C. I purchased this one and I’m just happy I can’t give you a review of it because we hadn’t needed to use it.
I’m not saying you need to go out and get that instead of a real fire extinguisher like you would find out in the public, but with our lack of upper body strength, sometimes we ladies have a difficult time holding heavy objects. Plus, do they even sell the big ones to regular people?
Regardless, if you feel you can extinguish the fire yourself, please always call 9-1-1 and report the fire.
You never know, but one little spark can burn the house down. I don’t mean to scare you, but fire is some scary stuff!
The most important fire extinguisher tip you can use
When faced with a fire, you’re gonna freak out. There’s nothing I can say or do to keep you from freaking out, so let’s both get this straight. When you’re done having your 20 seconds but feels like forever freak attack, grab that fire extinguisher and do exactly what I say.
Aim the nozzle at the BASE of the flame. Not the middle of the flame. Not the top of the flame, but the BASE. You must also sweep it back and forth. Go left to right if needed but you must only spray the BASE.
If you’re not sure where the base is, it’s the bottom part where the flames meet the floor, stove-top, pan, etc.
We had the Fire Department come into work and we all had to put out a fake electronic fire. Most of us aimed for the middle, but when we had to do it again and we swept from the base, the fire was extinguished at a much rapid speed.
So, always AIM FOR THE BASE!
Cooking safety tips to prevent kitchen fires
Stop multi-tasking when you’re cooking. I know sometimes while you’re trying to cook you end up being the referee for your kid’s fighting, letting the dog out, etc… there’s a really good chance you’re gonna get distracted and may not be by not paying attention to what’s going on at the stove.
With that said, here are some tips you need to pay attention to while cooking.
1. Never leave cooking unattended. Stay in the kitchen while cooking and turn off the stove before you leave.
2. Don’t put anything metallic in the microwave. Make sure you pull off the inside lids to the Campbells sipping soups before putting them in the microwave. The metal will ignite.
3. Double-check the timer on your microwave or kitchen timer. You may have thought you punched 1-minute, but accidentally punched 10-minutes.
4. If you have a gas-top stove, keep matches and lighters out of reach of children.
5. There are many dangerous chemicals in the kitchen. Even if you use something that’ s non-toxic, there is a good chance it may go KA-BOOM if it’s close to a heat source such as a fire. Flammable materials such as aerosols, cleaning agents and cooking oils should be stored away from heat. (If your dishwasher is next to your sink and you keep your flammable and cleaning products under the sink, don’t worry. Although the dishwasher does get hot, the heat won’t get hot enough to send your kitchen sink into oblivion).
6. Avoid cooking under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
7. Keep loose clothing, fabrics, dish towels, curtains, and flammable items away from the stove.
8. Turn pot handles inwards. Pot handles hanging over the edge of the stove can be easily knocked or grabbed by children.
9. Keep your oven, range, and grill clean and in good working order. A build-up of grease, fat, and melted cheese from the pizza you put straight in the oven, can ignite in a fire.
How to extinguish a grease fire
Turn the heat off. Don’t try to move the pot. You might accidentally splash yourself, your kid, your spouse, your dog.
Cover the pot with a metal lid. Fire can’t survive without oxygen. With the lid on (and the heat off), the fire will die. If your pots don’t have a metal lid and yours is a glass lid, there’s a really good chance the glass will shatter.
Toss on a bunch of baking soda. Baking soda will extinguish only small grease fires. You will have to use a lot of baking soda.
Spray the pot with your fire extinguisher. Make this one your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen by releasing all of the chemicals. But really, at that point, it’s not gonna matter, just do it!
Get out and call 9-1-1. f the fire starts to spread, get out of the house and call 9-1-1.
Whatever you do, DO NOT do the following:
Do Not use water. Your first instinct is to douse the pan with water, but pouring water can cause the oil to splash and spread the fire. Remember, this isn’t a house fire, it’s a grease fire.
Do Not move the pan or carry it outside. Throwing the pan outside might seem like the most logical thing to do during your freak-out session, but moving the pan might splash burning oil on you, your husband, your kids, your dog, your pet turtle, Sully.
Do Not throw flour on the fire. Just don’t do it, it could explode.
How to extinguish a microwave fire
Turn the power off, and unplug it if it’s kept on the counter. If it’s attached to your stove, shut off the circuit breaker.
Keep the microwave oven door shut. DO NOT OPEN IT. By opening the door you will introduce oxygen into the unit. Flames need oxygen to survive. By keeping the door shut the flames will die due to lack of oxygen. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR UNLESS YOU’RE 100% SURE THE FIRE IS OUT.
Safety tips for cooking in the microwave:
- Use microwave-safe cooking utensils, plates, or bowls.
- Never use metal, metal-edged bowls, metal foil, or even twist ties in microwave ovens. The metal can cause arcing which can lead to a fire.
- Never use recycled paper in microwave ovens unless they are specifically approved for microwave use. Recycled products including paper towels have minute metal flecks; these can cause sparks and even flames.
- When cooking popcorn heat according to the instructions. Never cook longer than 2 minutes as most microwaves will burn popcorn at 2 minutes.
- Never attempt to dry clothes or blankets in microwave ovens as they may catch on fire.
How to extinguish a toaster fire
Unplug the toast from the wall. If you’re afraid you burn yourself, find whatever is close (like kitchen tongs) and use that to remove the plug, then do the following:
Cover the toaster with a wet dishtowel, bath towel, or if you have a fire blanket, cover it with that. Please do not cover it if it’s still plugged into the outlet.
Use a fire extinguisher. Make sure you aim that nozzle at the base of the fire. Do not aim the nozzle into the toast slots.
Throw a lot of baking soda on it. If you need to use the entire box, then use the entire box. DO NOT use flour. It can explode, and then you’re gonna have another huge mess to deal with.
How to extinguish a toaster/convection oven fire
Unplug it from the wall. If you can reach the plug without burning yourself, pull the cord out of the wall.
Throw a lot of baking soda on it.
Use a fire extinguisher.
Don’t do this:
I had read (from a nationally syndicated news publication) that while your toaster oven is on fire, you should pick it up, put it in your oven and close the door. Sure, the lack of oxygen will kill the flames, but no one in their right mind should pick up something that has flames on it!
Please don’t do that! If you do, you can be placing yourself in harm, and can severely burn yourself. Once the fire has been extinguished, then feel free to put it in the oven.
How to extinguish an electrical fire
Odds are you’re not going to know where the fire is stemming from, so turn off the main circuit breaker to the house.
If a small appliance cord is on fire, if possible, pull it out of the outlet, then douse it with baking soda.
Use the fire extinguisher. Remember, sweep the flames at the BASE.
If the fire is small you can use baking soda.
On an ending note, if you can’t contain the fire
Call 9-1-1. After you call them, grab your kids, grab your spouse, grab your pet(s), grab yourself and get the heck out of the house.
If you’ve ever experienced a kitchen fire or know someone who has, please share your experience down below in the comment section, as I feel it will benefit all who read it.
Stay safe my friend.
Until we meet again,
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