In 2018 cooking fires accounted for a little over 50 percent of residential fires across the country, according to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration.
Grease fires occur when cooking oil becomes too hot. First the oil starts to boil. Then it begins to smoke. Finally, it catches fire.
Most vegetable oils have a smoking point that’s around 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Animal fats, like lard or goose fat, begin to smoke around 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease has a flash point, the temperature at which it ignites, of 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
Follow these four tips to help prevent a grease fire from occurring in your home:
Supervise your cooking pan.
Leaving a hot pan unattended is the most common cause of grease fires.
Keep paper towels, dish towels, cookbooks, and anything else that’s combustible, away from your stove.
A grease fire can quickly grow if it makes contact with combustibles.
If you begin to see smoke rising from your pan turn the heat down immediately.
As we mentioned earlier, if grease is smoking it’s too hot. Grease will smoke before it ignites.
If your pan catches fire smother it.
If you’re able, use an oven mitt to place the lid on top of your pan. You should never throw water on a grease fire, or try to move the burning pan to the sink.
Keep a class ABC fire extinguisher in the kitchen. It’s recommended that you have a fire extinguisher in at least three places in your home: the kitchen, your main living space, and in the garage (if you have one).
If you have to use a fire extinguisher follow the PASS procedure: Pull the pin; Aim at the base of the fire; Squeeze the trigger (slowly); Sweep the nozzle from side to side. The majority of portable extinguishers can reach from 6 to 10 feet and last from 8 to 10 seconds.
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