Preventing Grease Fires: Part 3 of 3:
It takes just minutes for an unattended pot of oil left on the stove to catch fire. A grease fire happens when your cooking oil becomes too hot. When heating, oils first start to boil, then they’ll start smoking, and then they’ll catch on fire. Most vegetable oils have a smoking point around 450°F (232°C), while animal fats like lard or goose fat will start smoking around 375°F (191°C). If you have the unlucky fortune of dealing with a grease fire, here’s what to do.
3. Clip a thermometer to the side so you know the temperature of the oil. Keep an eye on the oil as it’s heating. Again, if you see wisps of smoke or smell something acrid, immediately turn down the heat or remove the pot from the burner completely. The oil won’t immediately catch fire once it starts smoking, but smoke is a danger sign that it’s well on its way to getting there.
- It’s a really good idea to keep a fire blanket and a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. The fire extinguisher should be targeted at grease fires, or all-purpose.
- If the fire is too big, be sure to call the local emergency center.
- Spray the Pot with a Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher – This is your last resort, as fire extinguishers will contaminate your kitchen. Still, it’s better than the alternative if the fire is getting out of control. Use a Class K wet chemical fire extinguisher if it is available. Though more effective for extinguishing large grease fires, these are generally found only in commercial settings.Spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher. Use this method if it is your only option, because it will ruin food and contaminate kitchen dishes and utensils
- Never use flour or milk or sugar on a grease fire either. Sugar and flour will catch fire.
Things You’ll Need
- Lid or fire blanket
- Either baking soda or a fairly large amount of salt
- Oven mitts (optional)
- Class B Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher (optional)