Did you know that in the United Kingdom, frying with oil is the leading cause of house fires? Sure, they’ve got a culture of fish and chips and frying in pans in their home, and so their risk is higher, but it is an important statistic for fire safety here in America and Manchester specifically.
Are you prepared if the unthinkable happened and you were caught in the middle of a fire caused by ultra hot oil? What can we learn about the British experience? Let’s have a closer look at this type of fire.
If oil gets too hot, it can combust, creating a fire. This is why it is important to ensure your deep frying oil is changed regularly and monitored for deterioration. If it is getting murky, dark, or you can see foam along the top, it’s time to buy new stuff. If oil deteriorates, it has a lower smoke point and therefore a lower burn point.
IMPORTANT: Do not try to put out an oil fire with water!
It is imperative that you do not try to do this. Did you know that you can cause a much larger fire if you try to douse it with water? It’s counter to everything you have been told as a kid, and to be fair, there is not enough education out there about this. However, water will simply spread the oil around (they don’t mix, remember), and will also instantly evaporate, causing steam, which literally throws the oil around that gets caught in the steam, spreading the fire very quickly.
How To Put Out an Oil Fire
There are a couple ways to get this situation under control.
The first one is that you should have a fire extinguisher close by. You should be checking it regularly to make sure it’s still good, and you should know how to use it. If it is safe to do so, immediately switch off the power source or heating source of the oil.
Then, use your fire extinguisher to eliminate the blaze. This is fairly tricky and you have to get it done quite quickly for it to be effective. We do not wish to scare you, but the facts are that these fires are dangerous and spread quickly. Obviously, prevention is the best way to stop one!
However, as we said, they do happen, and you need to know how to stop them. If the fire extinguisher is in the next room (it shouldn’t be!) or you can’t get to it for whatever reason, or you see the fire JUST about to happen, you can also smother it. Using a slightly damp dish towel or a pan lid, cover the area that is on fire. You may be in time to eliminate the oxygen, which is needs to continue burning.
You can also dump a lot of baking soda on the fire. This can also be salt or another dry powder like this, though you’d need quite a bit.
The best thing to do is practice safe habits and also have your appropriate fire extinguisher ready in case of emergency situations.
Thanks to our friends at http://ww.fryerhq.com for their assistance with this article and deep fryer knowledge.
Stay safe out there, and remember, we’re here if you need anything. You can always contact us.