Extinguishing a Grease Fire: The Proper Methods

If you were to rank the most dangerous house fires in terms of their difficulty to put out, grease fires would top almost every single list. Not only are they easily created when frying or cooking with oil, but the number one extinguishing tool everyone associates with fires cannot be used; it will only make the damage worse. That's right, water can't be used on a grease fire. So, you may ask, if not water, what is the best way to stop a grease fire?

Method #1: Smother It

If you can, turn off the heat source as quickly as possible, but if you risk getting burned, it may be easier to move the pan causing the fire itself. The best way to extinguish the fire is remove its power source, which, in this case, is oxygen. Now, most homes don't have fire blankets on hand, but if you do, this can be thrown on top of your flaming stove or pan.

An alternative is to douse the pan with as much baking soda as possible. Considering this is a common kitchen ingredient and may even be located near the stove, this is often the easiest option to grab. If the fire has become too large, a box of baking soda probably won't cut it because the carbon dioxide it releases isn't enough to offset the intake of oxygen. When this occurs, turn to the next two methods.

Method #2: Fire Extinguisher

Fire extinguishers can also be a safe option to use on grease fires, and your best bets are a CO2 or Halon extinguisher or an aqueous film-forming foam. The downside to using these tools is that if sprayed at the wrong angle or with too much force, the fire could potentially spread, so it is preferable to try other methods first.

Method #3: Salt

When fire extinguishers or baking soda don't seem to be doing the trick, look to salt, that everyday ingredient almost everyone has in their kitchen cabinet. Normally only about a cup will work its magic, but feel free to dump as much as needed. Because salt is an incredible heat absorber, the grease isn't able to combust because its power source has been taken away. For this reason, salt is actually the best (and unfortunately least-known) option on this list.

Although each method has its pros and cons, the bottom line when it comes to grease fires is to never, ever, ever use water. To learn more about fire safety, contact a company like The Fire Protection Specialist Company Pty Ltd.