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You react to the burning smell of an oven fire before it triggers the smoke alarm. Flames shooting up through a stove top burner send you scrambling for the extinguisher.
Are you sure you know how to put out an oven fire? How do you handle a flare-up in the microwave or toaster oven?
This guide covers the basics of extinguishing fires in all types of ovens. We also offer tips on common causes of oven fires and the best ways to prevent this kitchen disaster.
5 EMERGENCY STEPS FOR PUTTING OUT OVEN FIRES
When you suddenly face an oven fire, knowing what to do and how to put it out can save your home and your life. While there are some differences in tactics depending on the type of appliance, these basic steps apply to all ovens.
1. LEAVE THE DOOR CLOSED
Throwing open the oven door feeds oxygen to flames inside. It also exposes you to a dangerous blast that can cause serious injury. Leave the door closed until the fire goes out.
2. TURN EVERYTHING OFF
Turn off the oven, and make sure top burners are off. As a precaution, unplug nearby appliances, and move everything away from the stove. Keep a very close eye on the flames.
3. STAY AWAY FROM WATER
Water is not effective against oven and stove top fires. Throwing it on a grease fire spreads the flames, and water is very dangerous around electric appliances.
4. REACH FOR THE EXTINGUISHER
The fire should go out on its on with the oven door closed, but be prepared. Get ready to use your kitchen fire extinguisher if flames spread up through the stove top.
5. KNOW WHEN TO CALL FOR HELP
If the flames don’t die down or you have any doubts about your safety, evacuate the house immediately. Call the fire department, and don’t go back inside until you get the all-clear from first responders.
Not every kitchen fire starts in a conventional oven. In addition to the above five steps, take these precautions when dealing with other types of oven fires.
• Electric Oven Fires – If you can’t unplug the stove, shut off the kitchen’s electric circuit breaker.
• Convection Oven Fires – Follow the same instructions for handling electric oven fires.
• Oven Broiler Fires – Smother small fires with salt or baking soda. Never use flour or baking powder.
• Toaster Oven Fires – Unplug the appliance, or flip the circuit breaker to the kitchen.
• Microwave Oven Fires – Unplug the microwave, or turn off the kitchen’s circuit breaker.
WHY OVEN FIRES HAPPEN
An average of more than 170,000 home fires start in the kitchen every year. It’s important to note the leading hazards that can cause a dangerous flare-up in your oven.
• Unattended cooking equipment or appliances
• Combustibles too close to heating elements
• Grease splatters from fatty foods
• Batter overflowing pans during baking
• Self-cleaning oven fires due to equipment malfunction
HOW TO PREVENT THEM
The most important safety tip for preventing an oven fire is also one of the easiest to practice: Keep an eye on things. Don’t ever leave the room while you’re cooking. Follow these precautions too.
• Keep oven and broiler areas clean.
• Place a drip tray under items baking in the oven.
• An oven can catch fire if left on indefinitely, so never use it to heat the kitchen.
• Never try to dry any type of combustible materials in the oven.
• Treat equipment to annual maintenance by an appliance technician.
WHAT TO DO AFTER AN OVEN FIRE
It’s not easy to deal with the aftermath of an oven fire. Soot and smoke cleanup takes time and hard work. It’s especially important to thoroughly clean the oven after a grease firebecause leftover residue can start another flare-up.
If the job seems like more than you can handle, call a fire damage restoration company. Certified technicians address soot removal and smoke odor elimination with high-tech equipment. They also get the work done quickly so that you can get back to enjoying your kitchen.
Never assume an oven that caught fire is safe to use. The risk is too great. Have the equipment inspected by an appliance professional. He or she can also confirm the safety of your stove’s connections.
WHEN YOU NEED EXPERT HELP
If you ever face a kitchen damaged by any type of fire and you’re in the Chicagoland area, we’re here for you. Our teams are always standing by with industry-certified kitchen fire and smoke cleanup services. When you need expert help in a fire-damaged kitchen, you can depend on ServiceMaster by Zaba.