There are over 150,000 kitchen fires in the US annually, many of which lead to injuries, destroyed homes and even deaths. You need to act fast to keep a kitchen fire from getting out of control. But what should you do when faced with a cooking fire? That depends on what type of fire you have.
If the fire is coming from your microwave or the oven, close the door and turn the appliance off. Keep the door closed, and hopefully the lack of oxygen will suffocate the fire. If your oven or microwave continues to smoke or the fire does not go out, get outside and call the fire department immediately.
If you use an oven mitt to protect your hand, you can put out a flash fire in a cooking pan by putting the lid on the pan. You should remove the pan from the burner and turn off the stovetop. Putting the lid on the pan should deprive the fire of oxygen and put out the flames.
If you are using a pan that does not have a lid, or if you cannot safely put the lid on the pan, you should use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. When you use the fire extinguisher, aim for the base of the fire and not at the flames.
Remember, never use water to put out a grease fire. Water can cause the grease to splatter and spread the fire. If you have a grease fire, try:
• For a small fire, cover the pan and turn off the burner.
• You can also try to smother the flames with salt of baking soda. Do not use flour because it can explode and spread the fire.
• Smother the flames with a large wet cloth or a large wet towel.
• Use your fire extinguisher.
Never swat at the flames with clothing, your apron or a towel. This will fan the flames and possibly spread the fire.
If the fire is spreading beyond what you can control, get everyone outside and call 911! Do not take a chance. Things can be replaced, but people cannot. Make sure your family knows how to get out of the house in the event of a fire. Learn how to use your fire extinguisher and practice your family’s escape route before a fire happens.