5 Steps To Follow When You Have A Grease Fire

5 Steps To Follow When You Have A Grease Fire

Steps to follow when you have a grease fire
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At one time or another, most people will experience a grease fire in their lifetimes.

It’s that terrifying moment when you’re cooking something on top of the stove and, all the sudden, it bursts into flames.

If this ever happens to you, your first inclination will probably be to panic, but don’t. In fact, that’s the worst thing you could do. Instead, know that there are several things you can do to turn the situation around and save your kitchen, if not your dish.

So, if you ever find yourself in this situation, keep calm, and remember these tips. 

Step #1: Never, Ever Use Water

Our first step isn’t really so much a step as a warning, and that warning is to NEVER use water to attempt to put out a grease fire.

fireman putting out fire with water
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Because of the way that grease and water mix, all that’s going to happen is that your grease fire is going to flare up and grow bigger, making the problem worse instead of better.

Thus, even though your first instinct may be to reach for the water, don’t do it.

Step #2: Cover/Smother Those Soaring Flames

cover grease fire with fire blanket
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_blanket

When you’ve got flames leaping up out of your previously innocuous pan, it can be a little hard to think clearly. However, summon your strength and grab something to smother/cover the fire with.

Honestly, it’s a good idea to always have an appropriate item, like a cookie sheet or a lid, on hand when you’re cooking with grease. If you’ve forgotten this step, though, find something as quickly as you can. Obviously, you don’t want anything that’s flammable itself, but work as quickly as possible to find a suitable item that won’t burn up but that will effectively squash the flames. 

Step #3: Turn Off the Heat

person lowering the heat volume of gas stove
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There is some debate about whether this tip belongs as number 2 or number 3. Honestly, though, it’s an important tip either way.

Whenever a fire breaks out, you want to make sure that you turn off the heat as soon as possible, especially if you’re dealing with a gas range. In fact, we’ll say this is step 2 if you have a gas range and step 3 if you don’t.

The reason is that gas ranges are just open flames, and if you can get rid of them, you can sometimes stop the fire in its track. With other ranges, you don’t want to add any fuel to the fire but covering it should be your first priority.

With either type of heat source, though, at some point, you will want to cut the heat to give the fire less “ammo” to blaze on with. 

Step #4: Try Baking Soda or Salt

BAKING SODA
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Sometimes, covering the fire with a pan or other object as described above will be enough to put it out. When that’s the case, you’re in luck. The fire is out, and you’re done.

When the fire is still going but is smaller and more manageable, you can sometimes put it the rest of the way out with a sprinkling of salt or baking soda, also good items to have on hand when you’re cooking with grease.

Again, don’t try this method if the covering seems to be doing the trick completely, but, if not, this option is worth a shot.

Step #5: Use a Fire Extinguisher if All Else Fails

fire extinguishers
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If, for whatever reason, no other method has worked to put the fire out, then you can try a chemical fire extinguisher if you have one on hand or can get to one quickly. 

Unfortunately, fire extinguishers can sometimes make grease fires worse, depending on a variety of factors and on whether or not you actually use the right type of extinguisher as mentioned above.

Because of the possibility of confusion and so many other factors, this is a risky move and a true last resort.

Finally, if you can’t get the fire out after trying all of these methods, it’s time to get out and call the fire department for assistance. That may not be what you want to do, but it could just save your life.

If you do get the fire out, you may still want to have the fire department come out and check for any structural damage to your property, as well as smoke damage, and to determine if it is safe for you to re-enter the property. Smoke inhalation can be quite dangerous.

If you can keep these tips in mind, though, hopefully you can avoid any serious consequences and contain the fire immediately.


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Mary H. Dixon

Mary has the work background of being a sales consultant and insurance policy adviser for a number of local firms. Her hobbies include freelance teaching at a teenager community center and taking an active role in her weekend reading club.
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