Things Everyone Should Know: Fire Safety

I know I know, everyone learned fire safety in kindergarten. When you hear the fire alarm calmly make your way to the nearest exit and get away from the building (no roasting marshmallows). But what happens if you’re the one starting the fire? What do you do if you’re cooking away with a pot of oil one night and suddenly flames erupt?

A: watch in horror as the fire engulfs your entire kitchen

B: throw water on it duh

C: dump a box of baking soda onto the fire

D: smother it with a pot lid

If you answered A or B, your kitchen is now a fireball and the fire department is on the way. Yes water is used to put out most fires, but on an electrical or oil fire water is a no-no. If you’ve ever accidentally dropped a few drops of water into hot oil you know how angry it makes the oil.

If your kitchen catches on fire the best option is to shoot it with a fire extinguisher. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher (this is probably a bad thing) there are other simple ways to extinguish a fire.

If you are certain it is only a heat fire, such as dropping your pot holder onto a burner, or crisping a chicken into charcoal then water is a good solution. Crank on your sink and use the sprayer to douse the fire with water. As soon as you are safely able turn the oven/stove off.

If you are not certain what type of fire it is, or if you know it’s an oil fire, then baking soda is the answer. Keep a box of baking soda somewhere in your kitchen that is not right next to or above the stove but is easily accessible. When you spot flames grab your box and dump it onto the flames until they are smothered. As with any other fire, shut off your oven/stove to help cool the area down.

If the fire is small enough you can safely cover it with a pot lid and shut off your oven/stove. The lid will cut off the oxygen to the fire, effectively smothering it.

I do not recommend trying to pat a fire out with a pot holder (this is an easy way to get burned). This may look effective in movies but it is not safe to have your hands that close to flames.

If the fire is a large fire I suggest pulling your fire alarm, alerting the fire department and neighbors while you make your way out. Large fires are not safe to try to fight yourself, please leave those to the professionals.


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