Friday, September 4, 2020

How to fight a Kitchen fire

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Cooking plays a vital role in our everyday lives. You may be used to only cooking casually and serving good ol’ mac and cheese. Or, maybe, you're a chef who can’t live a day without a new kitchen experiment. Despite your level of commitment to cooking, the kitchen has the same basic principles of functioning and the main one is fire. The majority of kitchen appliances work with fire or high temperatures in one way or another. These things in combination with cooking ingredients and a habit of being distracted can cause a disaster. According to the research done by the National Fire Prevention Agency, during 2016-2018 years 48% of the reported domestic fires were kitchen fires. Besides, kitchen fires have led to around 45% of overall home fire injuries and 21% of deaths.

Kitchen fires are one of the domestic hazards we expect the least. People tend to forget how uncontrollable blaze can become if it springs from kitchen grease. Such fires require a special approach to fight them off properly. Otherwise, these fires can grow into a serious disaster that can consume your property and cause injuries to you or your loved ones. Thus, in order for you to be on your highest alert, we decided to provide a guide on how to fight off a kitchen fire.

Fighting Off Kitchen Ignition

Like any other fire, kitchen fire requires a rapid and precise reaction to the ignition. Well executed extinguishing measures will help you put out the fire with minimal damage or at least to win crucial time before a fire unit arrives. Here’s the list of actions you should and shouldn’t take during such an emergency.

Cut off the fuel

Once you’ve spotted igniting flames your very first move should be cutting off the fuel. Either it’s gas if you were cooking on the regular stove or electricity for any other appliance, you have to take the heating element out of the equation. Almost any fire despite its nature needs three basic elements in order to keep burning. The so-called fire triangle consists of oxygen, fuel, and heat. Once one of these elements is eliminated the fire will most surely start fading. Thus, to start effectively fight kitchen fire you need to turn off a cooking element. The best-case scenario is when you are able to simply turn off the switch. Although you might notice fire when it has already progressed and, therefore, it’s dangerous to try to reach the switch. Thus, the safest choice will always be cutting off the gas flow on the tube level for gas-fueled stoves and killing the power on the fuse panel for electrical appliances.

Don’t try to extinguish it with water

The very last thing you should do in case of a kitchen grease fire is trying to extinguish it with water. The major part of ignitions is caused in a kitchen due to either vegetable or animal oils or fat and grease ignition. When cooking oil is on fire pouring water into it will only stimulate fire and increase the burning. Such a reckless move might help the fire to spread and can even result in high degree burns. Besides, quick pouring of water can cause splashing of burning grease over surrounding surfaces which will definitely help fire spreading.

Try to suffocate the fire

In case if burning is happening inside the kitchenware, for instance in a pan, the proper move would be to cover it with a lid. Grab your oven mitt or a dish-cloth and quickly cover the flames with a lid. It will cut off the oxygen which is the other part of the fire triangle, leading to the suffocation of a fire. If there is no way you can cover the blazes you can try using baking soda. Generously throw it into the base of the fire - it will cause a chemical reaction that will help suffocate the fire as well. However, be aware not to use baking soda on grease fires since it can trigger the splashing of burning fat particles over the surrounding surfaces. Also, make sure you don’t use baking powder or flour since your small kitchen fire can turn from a cozy campfire into the 4th July celebration in a split of a second.

Don’t use a cloth to fan the fire or cover flames with it

Fanning the burning grease will only “cheer-up” the flames like when you’re trying to light up your grill for a barbecue party. Trying to stop the fire with a piece of cloth will bring about only negative effects. Such action will simply add fuel to the burning process since the temperature of burning oil or grease is pretty high.

Use a special fire extinguisher or call 911

If previous methods don’t yield any results and the flames keep spreading you should use a fire extinguisher. Kitchen fires are classified as class K fires. When fat, oils or grease is burning, a regular fire extinguisher might not help or even worsen the situation. Thus, it is recommended to use class K fire extinguishers based on a special type of chemical. If you don’t have such an extinguisher or if the fire grew into an uncontrollable stage it is time to evacuate the building and call the fire department. Always remember that the fire is an unpredictable phenomenon of nature that has dangerous ruining power. If you are feeling that you are losing control over the ignition don’t risk your life and call the specialists.

Forewarned Is Forearmed

It is crucial to know how to act in the case of a kitchen fire, nevertheless, the foundation of fire safety is fire prevention. You should always be alert about the possibility of a fire. Therefore, to lower the risk it is better to keep your kitchen and especially cooking surfaces and hood clean from fat, spilled oil, and other cooking ingredients. Don’t distract yourself from the process of preparing food. Best case scenario, your dish will be ruined and at worst such carelessness can cause a fire. Besides, make sure to not leave oven mitts, paper towels, or dish-clothes near the open flame or heating elements. Additionally, you should equip your kitchen with a proper fire prevention system and fire-fighting hardware. Class K fire extinguisher is the bare minimum for a rapid and effective reaction to a kitchen ignition. Also, you can try installing kitchen fire suppression systems. You can learn more about them from your local fire safety specialist.

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