Extinguishing a Kitchen Fire

— Written By Trudy Pickett and last updated by

Follow these safety tips to extinguish small kitchen fires:

  • Never pour water on a cooking fire. If a pot or pan of food catches fire, carefully slide a lid over the pan and turn off the stove burner. Keep the lid on the pan until it is completely cool, at least 20 minutes. A cookie sheet works just as well if it completely covers the pan or pot.

* If the fire is caused by hot grease, use a fire extinquisher made especially for grease fires. Stay back 4 to 6 feet and aim directly at the base of the fire. Using a fire extinguisher too close to a fire can drive the fire up the wall behind the stove. You must react quickly. Seconds count.

*If a fire starts inside the oven, close the oven door and turn off the heat source. If the flames do not go out immediately, call the fire department. Keep a large lid near the cooktop for emergency use.

  • Keep the door closed if anything catches fire in your microwave oven. Turn off or if possible, unplug the microwave. Opening the door will only feed oxygen to the fire. Do not use the oven again until it is serviced.
  • It is also a good idea to keep a small fire extinguisher handy in your kitchen. Purchase one that will put out all types of fires.

*A device called the Stovetop Firestop can be installed over a cooktop. When a stovetop fire reaches the fuse on the firestop, the device breaks open and rains down a fire-supressing powder onto the fire.

When using a fire extinguisher in fighting small fires, remember the acronym PASS – pull, aim, squeeze, sweep.

  • Pull the pin. This unlocks the operating lever and allows you to discharge the extinguisher.
  • Aim low. Point the extinguisher nozzle or hose at the base of the fire and not at the flames.
  • Squeeze the lever above the handle. This discharges the extinguishing agent. Release the lever to stop the discharge.
  • Sweep from side to side, moving carefully toward the fire. Keep the extinguisher aimed at the base of the fire and sweep back and forth until the flames are out. Watch the fire area. If the fire starts again, repeat the process.

Resource: www.aces.edu