How and When to Fight a Cooking Fire
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How & When to Fight a Cooking Fire?

  • When in doubt, just get out. When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you do try to fight the fire, be sure others are already warned and getting out and that you have a clear path to the exit.
  • It is wise to have a fully charged and “in-date” chemical fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Many kitchen fires involve grease, which water alone will not put out.
  • If you don’t have a chemical fire extinguisher, Baking Soda (not Baking Powder), can help fight a small kitchen flare up. When Baking Soda is heated, it gives off carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames. For small cooking fires (frying pans, broilers, ovens, grills), turn off the gas or electricity, if you can safely do so. Stand back and throw handfuls of Baking Soda at the base of the flame, to help put out the fire. Don’t use Baking Soda on deep fat fryers. Throwing the Baking Soda may cause hot or burning grease to splatter. Don’t use Baking “Pow”-der because it might go “Pow” and explode. Don’t use Flour for the same reason. Sugar is not good at fighting grease fires either because sugar burns.
  • Always keep oven mitts and a lid handy, when cooking. If a small grease fire starts in a pan, smother the flames by carefully sliding the lid over the pan (make sure you are wearing the oven mitt). Turn off the burner. Do not move the pan. To keep the fire from restarting, leave the lid on until the pan is completely cool.
  • In case of an oven fire, turn off the heat and keep the door closed to prevent flames from burning you or your clothing.
  • If you have a fire in your microwave oven, turn it off immediately and keep the door closed. Never open the door until the fire is completely out. Unplug the appliance if you can safely reach the outlet.

After a fire, both ovens and microwaves should be checked and/or serviced before being used again.