Accidents happen to all of us but those involving fire can have serious consequences. Because our kitchens have many heat sources, it is the most likely room for a fire to start. Knowing how to react when a cooking fire starts can mean the difference between a close call and a home destroyed by fire. However, it is important not to try to put out an uncontrolled fire. When that happens, you must get your family and yourself out of the house and call 911.
If the fire has just started in a pan or microwave, the correct actions will prevent damage to your home and a homeowners insurance claim. Two common cooking fires are covered below:
Grease fires are common and very dangerous. Putting them out is readily accomplished by sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the stove. Leave the lid on the pan for at least 30 minutes to allow the temperature of the grease to drop below its ignition temperature. If you take off the lid too soon, the fire can reignite. The lid chokes off the fire by depriving it of oxygen.
Never use water to put out grease fires. Water causes hot grease to violently splatter, which makes the fire spread beyond the pan. This splatter occurs when the water explosively vaporizes in the hot grease.
Do not attempt to remove the pan off the burner. If you tip the pan, the burning grease will spill on to the stove and floor. Put the lid on it and turn off the stove.
If using a fire extinguisher made for grease fires, aim at the base of the fire. Make sure to stand back about five feet so that the force of the extinguisher doesn’t blow the burning grease out of the pan.
When there is a fire in your microwave oven, close the door if open. If already closed, do not open. Turn off the oven and unplug its power cord from the wall outlet if you can. The fire will use the remaining oxygen and then go out. Leave the door closed until the fire is completely extinguished. If smoldering continues inside the oven, call the fire department.
Only use microwave approved materials and keep the inside of the oven clean. Never microwave food that lacks water content.
Remember that once the fire gets out of control, getting everyone safely out of the house is your priority. Call 911 and let the professionals put out the fire. For more tips and information on protecting your home, please contact us.
Robert Macoviak is the President of Oyer, Macoviak and Associates. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates is the oldest independent insurance agency in Boynton Beach and has been in business since 1953. Oyer, Macoviak and Associates are vested members of the community who are committed to doing business face-to-face and being your insurance advocate in times of need.