What to Do if Kitchen Oil Catches Fire

An oil or grease fire is classified as a Class B fire. Class B fires are fueled by a combustible liquid and can easily spread in a short period of time. Whenever you're cooking with oil or grease, it's important to take precautions against possible fire accidents. For example, cooking with an open flame exposes you to the risk of Class B fires if oil falls inside the flame. 

You should take extra precautions when handling pots, pans, and other utensils over an open flame. If a fire still ends up occurring, follow these steps to minimize any potential damage. 

1. Turn Off the Heat and Keep the Fire Contained

If you notice that flames are arising from your cooking pot/pan, the first thing you should do is shut off the source of heat. This will prevent the fire from spreading any further. Next, move the pot/pan away from the heat source and onto a non-flammable surface. You can typically do this even before the pot bursts into flames. Once you notice smoke or vapors coming out of the cooking surface, make sure you turn off the heat immediately. 

2. Prevent Any Air of Wind from Accessing the Flame

Class B fires are fueled by oxygen in the air. To prevent oxygen from fanning the flames, use a metal cover to seal your cooking pot/pan and limit the spread. Another strategy is to apply baking soda to any grease that has spilled on nearby surfaces.  

3. Move Flammable Items Away from the Affected Area

If other items can easily catch fire, move them away from the flames as soon as possible. This includes paper, plastic, gas cylinders, and other similar items. Don't try to haul away heavy gas cylinders if the flames are getting out of control. In fact, if you can't move the fire away from gas cylinders, the best thing to do is to keep as much of a safe distance from the fire as possible and to immediately call an emergency fire service.

4. Reach for Your Fire Extinguisher 

If it's reasonable to do so, reach for your fire extinguisher and attempt to put out the flames before they spread any further. Class B fires are best put out by a chemical extinguishing agent. Such an agent prevents any oxygen from accessing the fire and spreading the flames. When you spray the chemical agent using your fire extinguisher, it essentially smothers the flames and stops them in their tracks. 

If you have more questions about handling a Class B fire, contact fire extinguisher services.