How Grease Fires Start: And How You Can Avoid Them

Posted on Aug 23, 2022

Whether you are cooking in your home or in a commercial kitchen, there is a chance for mistakes and accidents. From burnt toast to a nicked finger while slicing, there are many types of kitchen accidents, but one of the worst – and most dangerous – is a grease fire.

Studies have found that up to 5 million fires happen in kitchens each year. Fires caused by grease can be the most hazardous, so it is important to learn how grease fires start and how to avoid them. Knowing the appropriate way to handle a grease fire could save a life. 

What causes a grease fire

A grease fire is caused when cooking oil becomes too hot. After oils boil, they can start to smoke and then burn, catching on fire. The best safety is prevention, so check out the below tips on how to prevent grease fires in your residential or commercial kitchen. 

Preventing grease fires 

In addition to typical kitchen safety, there are a few key ways to prevent grease fires in commercial and residential kitchens: 

  • Never leave the stove, fryer, or other cooking devices unattended. Grease fires can catch in as little as 30 seconds, so do not leave the kitchen until you are done cooking and hot devices have cooled. 
  • Exercise care when putting food in hot oil so the oil does not splatter, as this could lead to burns. Drain all moisture from food before dipping or adding it to hot oil, and avoid putting frozen foods in hot grease. 
  • Do not overheat the grease, and turn the burner down if you notice smoke or oil smells. 
  • Regularly have your ductwork and kitchen fans cleaned, and change air filters on a regular basis. Do not neglect regular maintenance for your fans and exhaust system. 
  • Have a fire detection system in place and active, as well as kitchen fire extinguishers. Ensure all extinguishers are serviced regularly.  

What to do in the case of a grease fire

Even if when the chef or staff is careful, accidents can still happen in the kitchen. In the case of a grease fire, do not panic. Instead, remember these tips to safely extinguish the fire. 

  • Do not use water on a grease fire
    The number one rule is to avoid putting any water on a grease fire. Because water contains oxygen, it fuels the fire instead of extinguishing or cooling it. 
  • Turn off the heat
    If you can safely access the heat source, turn it off to get the oil to start cooling down.
  • Do not try to move a burning pot or pan
    While some people think that moving the pot or pan containing the fire outside will save the kitchen or staff, it could instead spill the grease, spreading the fire or causing burns. 
  • Put a lid on the pot or pan
    The best way to stop a grease fire is by depriving it of oxygen. If you are able to suffocate the fire by putting a lid on the pot or pan, this will quickly put out the flame. 
  • Use a fire extinguisher
    Do not use kitchen ingredients like flour. Whiles these may suffocate the fire, they could also make the fire worse. Only use a kitchen fire extinguisher to put out the flames. 
  • Call 911
    If you fear the fire may be out of control, don’t hesitate. Call emergency services as soon as possible. 

Keep Kitchen Exhaust Clean To Avoid Fires

Your restaurant exhaust plays a huge role in preventing fire hazards and the buildup of other materials. Call AirPro Indoor Solutions today to ensure your kitchen exhaust is running safely and efficiently. 

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