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Prepare For Kitchen Fires

National statistics show that on the average, every person will experience two kitchen fires in their lifetime. Hopefully, you will avoid a fire in your kitchen.

Those of you who are prepared and know how to respond to this kind of an emergency can minimize damage. When a kitchen fire strikes, know what to do!

The most common kitchen fire starts in a pan on top of the stove. When it happens, don't try to move it. In doing so, you will only increase the chances of spreading the flames.

How to Extinguish

  • Try to extinguish the fire in the pan by slowly sliding the lid over the pan. Don't try to throw the lid on from a distance or place the lid directly on the pan.
  • By sliding the lid on the top of the pan, you cut off the oxygen to the fire and fire will die.
  • Once this has been done, turn the burner off to remove the heat source. Caution: under no circumstances should you attempt to put out a fire in a pan on the stove by using water. Doing so will only increase the intensity of the fire, causing possible injury to yourself or spreading flame to other portions of the room.

Fire in an Oven
If a fire starts in the oven, closing the oven door will cut off the oxygen in most cases and smother the fire. Again, turn off the oven to remove the heat source and keep the oven door closed.

Fire Extinguishers
Fire extinguishes are a vital element to be utilized in the kitchen. If you don't have a lid that fits the pan or if the fire is too intense to get close, you must use a fire extinguisher. Most kitchen fires can be put out quickly if an adequate home fire extinguisher is available and used correctly.

Have the proper fire extinguisher and store it correctly.

It is important to store the fire extinguisher away from the stove so it can be easily available if a fire occurs. Keep it on a wall in the laundry room or garage. Don't hang it over the stove or other potential fire areas. Your home fire extinguisher should be approved for a B-type and C-type fire and weigh no less than five pounds. (B-type fires involve flammable liquids such as grease and C-type fires involve electrical appliances.)

Know How to Use Your Fire Extinguisher

  1. Be within effective range.
  2. Pull the release pin on the fire extinguisher.
  3. Aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
  4. Using a sweeping pattern, move the extinguisher back and forth.

Don't Waste Time
If the fire extinguisher does not put out the fire or if one is not available, you should alert the fire department immediately by calling 9-1-1 (or the emergency response phone number in your area, if different).

Get Out
After you have contacted the fire department, make sure that everyone is out of the house. Gather everyone out front until the fire department arrives. Remember, once out, stay out.

Common Sense Rules to Remember
Proper clothing: kitchen fires can ignite your clothing when you're working around the stove. Long, frilly or loose-fitting sleeves are likely to come in contact with the hot surface and catch fire. You should always wear short sleeves when working around a hot stove.

Never leave the area unattended while cooking (frying) in an open pan on the stove or while broiling.

Maintenance: regular cleaning of the stove, hood, and vent system is also important. Most range hoods should be cleaned with a degreaser or household detergent. Vent filters can be cleaned in a dishwasher. This maintenance should be conducted once a week or as needed, depending on how much your stove is used.