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Grease Fires: What to Do During, After, and Fire Restoration Tips

Posted on June 07, 2021
by Vinay Panday

The grease fire’s damage can be as small as an embarrassing accident to total devastation that requires emergency services and professional cleanup. Everyone using the kitchen should be aware of key preventative, response, and restoration measures and practices should a grease fire flare-up.

When people say, “now we’re cooking with gas,” it usually indicates things are going well. But, when a grease fire strikes, it’s a different story. In fact, fires started in the kitchen when cooking mishaps take place are the number one cause of residential fires in the U.S. today. The damage can be as small as an embarrassing accident to total devastation that requires emergency services and professional cleanup. It’s important that everyone using the kitchen be aware of some key preventative, response, and restoration measures and practices should a grease fire flare-up.

An ounce of prevention
Of course, prevention is the best and the easiest way to avoid a grease fire’s devastation. Some simple rules of thumb include always using the right utensils and using cooking oils with high smoke points such as canola or sunflower oil. It’s also important to avoid leaving the stove unattended as well as removing moisture from foods being placed in hot oil. Also key, professional fire restoration service providers can guide you as to where to obtain a class “B” fire extinguisher for the kitchen.

What to do when a grease fire sparks
Any time we experience a cooking fire can incite panic, especially when the flames are caused by grease and not easily extinguished. The best defense is increasing our awareness around best response practices and being as prepared as possible. Our first instinct can often be to add water, but you know what they say about oil and water: bad idea. Pouring or spraying water onto a grease fire will only disperse the grease flames and spread the fire, making a bad situation worse in a hurry. This scenario also holds true for water-based fire extinguishers, so care should be taken to ensure any kitchen is prepared with the right type of extinguisher in the case of a grease fire.

In addition, beware of any old wives’ tales around pouring common kitchen ingredients such as sugar or flour onto the grease fire. These ingredients are highly flammable and will only feed the flames making for a bigger, more difficult fire to put out. Finally, resist any urge to pick up the cooking container holding the flames and carry it outdoors. Moving the fire only increases the risk of spreading it, as well as causing burn injuries should the grease spill out.

So, I know what not to do. But what can I do?
Once the grease fire has taken off and we know what not to do, the time has come to really remain calm and be methodical in our response. It seems like common sense, but in the heat of the moment, we may need to calmly remind ourselves to turn off the stove immediately. In the case, the controls are unreachable, if safe to do so have someone turn off the main gas or power supply. Next, by placing a metal lid over the flames, it’s often enough to eliminate flame-fuelling oxygen, exterminating the fire. Using the lid, or even a metal baking sheet, completely cover the flames and leave it on long enough to ensure the fire has been completely put out. Remember, it must be metal. Glass or plastic will only cause more problems so resist the urge to reach for them in a bind.

We mentioned above to avoid baking ingredients like flour or sugar. However, covering flames with salt or baking soda (not to be confused with baking powder) can be effective in extinguishing a grease fire. There is an easier, more effective way to do this for the prepared who keep a Class “B” fire extinguisher accessible in the kitchen. Simply stand back, aim, and fire away.

When putting out a grease fire is not a DIY situation
Sometimes a grease fire is simply too much to handle on our own, in terms of both extinguishing it, and also its clean-up. In this case, exit the building and call the fire department. Once they’ve put the fire out, they will indicate if and when it is safe to return inside. Upon assessing the damage, if the grease fire has taken off to the extent of needing a professional to put it out, it likely requires a professional cleaning service as well. Professional restoration companies can provide support and peace of mind in that their expert processes and tools will have the building back and good as new as quickly as possible.

This includes:
Inspection and assessment
When a grease fire takes over the kitchen, the damage can be extensive. Everything from surfaces to air quality have likely been impacted. Certified technicians can provide an expert assessment around all remediation and restoration services required to get the kitchen back up and running as soon as possible. Included in the initial inspection is determining the scope of the damage, the clean-up processes involved, as well as the expected restoration timeline and costs.

Other impacted systems
Professional fire remediation service providers bring the latest and highest quality in certified practices and processes to clean up any and all grease fire damage. Beyond cleaning up any mess from the initial destruction, it’s likely other problems have occurred as well, including water damage, sewage backup, or any other issues. Expert providers have the knowledge and best practices to ensure further damage is prevented.

Surface clean-up & air quality restoration
When a grease fire strikes, it’s likely left unhealthy impacts to both air quality and damaged surfaces. Within the kitchen, everything from walls to surfaces, furniture, contents, and HVAC systems likely require professional clean-up and maintenance to get the kitchen back in order for everyone using it. The other great advantage to using professional remediation services after a grease fire is the technicians will be fully trained and certified to not only get the job done right but also to provide any documentation required by insurance companies or health inspectors.

Don’t wait until it’s too late to be prepared for the all-too-common devastation of the kitchen grease fire. At Air-tek, we’re proud to answer any questions about fire prevention and restoration services. Click here to learn more.

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