Are you wondering what to do after you’ve used a kitchen fire extinguisher? You’ve come to the right place. Kitchen fires are nothing to mess with. This article will talk about kitchen fires, how to use the fire extinguisher, and what to do once the incident is over.
After using a fire extinguisher in your kitchen, the first step is to ensure the flame is completely out and there is no concern about the fire recurring. Then, you should spend time cleaning up the fire extinguisher residue to prevent corrosion.
We’ll discuss what to do after using a fire extinguisher in the next sections. You’ll find details on fire safety and more.
The Steps to Take After Using a Fire Extinguisher in Your Kitchen
Using a fire extinguisher is a scary thing. However, these tools are made for simple use, and if you must use one, you should be able to clean up any residue quickly.
Kitchen fires can vary in size and danger. It is essential to determine the level of danger with the fire. After talking about what to do after using a fire extinguisher, we will go into more detail about improving kitchen fire safety.
Here are the steps to take after using a fire extinguisher in your kitchen:
- Assure that you don’t need to use the fire extinguisher again
- Check the level of damage
- Call the fire department if needed (evacuate the home)
- Clean up
- Assess the usefulness of a fire extinguisher
- Replace the fire extinguisher
- Take steps to ensure the future safety
We will unpack each of these to ensure we have a better understanding.
Assure You Don’t Need to Use the Fire Extinguisher Again
Fires are sneaky things. After using a fire extinguisher, the first step is to ensure that there’s no fire hiding somewhere else. Even a small spark can restart the whole thing! Some people don’t even know they have a fire in their home until it’s too late.
How does this happen? Usually, the fire was in the wall or something and then burst through. Or, the fire happened at night, and they didn’t realize it until late.
However, if you used the fire extinguisher, you identified the fire. After you spray the fire with the extinguisher, take a second to look around and ensure no sparks floated anywhere else in the house.
Once you’ve ensured the fire is completely out, it’s time to assess the damage.
Check the Level of Damage to the Kitchen
Checking the damage and checking for any more smoldering fire go hand in hand. Even if you’re confident that there’s no more fire, you should take a second to assess the level of damage.
If the damage was significant, you should probably call the fire department. Why? They will be able to assess the damage, write a report, and offer tips on what to do differently in the future.
Also, if you’re not 100% sure that all the fire is out (this means no smoking of any kind), the fire department will ensure the fire doesn’t restart (which is fairly common in large fires).
Call the Fire Department if Needed (evacuate the home)
If you’re not sure that the fire is completely out, or there was significant damage – beyond a roasted turkey – then it’s probably wise to call the fire department.
Fire departments are usually very thorough in ensuring a fire is completely out. They go over everything carefully, ensuring there’s no smoke. Also, many fire departments have special heat sensors to ensure there are no flames or smolders hiding anywhere.
There’s nothing wrong with calling the fire department if you’re scared or unsure.
After all the excitement is over, it’s time to clean everything up.
Clean up Fire Extinguisher Residue
After the fire is out, it’s time to clean up the residue left behind by the fire extinguisher. Obviously, you don’t want to leave this grime in your kitchen. However, beyond getting the residue away from your food, it’s important to clean up the residue to prevent erosion of metals.
There are several classifications of fire extinguishers, and some use different substances to put out the fire. Regardless of the fire extinguisher you used, it’s best to take some time to clean up the residue.
To clean up fire extinguisher residue, you can either use warm soapy water or a mixture of alcohol and warm water. Go over the surface several times. Finally, use a clean rag to ensure that no residue is being replaced on the surface.
Depending on the type of extinguisher, it may use a wet or a powder substance. Either way, it’s best to use eye, face, and hand protection. You don’t want to inhale this stuff accidentally.
Now that everything is clean, it’s time to assess a few more practical questions.
Assess the Usefulness of the Fire Extinguisher
Fire extinguishers come in many different types. Some are large and bulky, and they are made for all grades of fires. If you used the fire extinguisher in your home, you likely had a smaller one. Was it too small?
If you don’t have a large enough fire extinguisher, you won’t be able to put out the larger kitchen fires. As you might imagine, it’s better to have a little extra than not have enough.
Of course, depending on the nature of the fire, it might be beyond the ability of any fire extinguishers. Some fires get so big that the only thing you can do is evacuate the building, call 911, and hope for the best.
Let’s talk about several more steps.
Replace the Fire Extinguisher
After you’ve assessed the usefulness of the fire extinguisher, it’s time to get a new one. Many larger fire extinguishers have a gauge on the side, telling you how much life they have left. Follow the manufacturer guidelines on whether to reuse or replace your extinguisher. If you used a small, can-sized extinguisher, it’s best to play it safe and replace it.
If the fire department is there, you can ask them to assess the fire extinguisher and give you recommendations on how to reset/replace it.
Note: make sure you double-check how you stored the fire extinguisher. Did you need to dig through the garage to find it? Ideally, the fire extinguisher should be located close to the kitchen, ensuring that everyone can access it in the future.
Take Steps to Ensure the Future Safety from Kitchen Fires
Sometimes, there’s nothing you could have done to prevent the fire. It may have been an electrical problem. However, other times, human error led to the fire. So, the first step is to ask yourself if there’s anything that you can do in the future to prevent another fire.
Here are several steps to prevent a kitchen fire:
- Never leave the stovetop unattended
- Watch out for grease build-up
- Keep the stove clear
- Prepare a plan
Let’s look at these steps in more depth.
Never Leave the Stovetop Unattended
The stovetop is literally as hot as fire. While it might seem like it’s safe to leave while you go use the bathroom, many things can happen in the time you’re away. For example, a breeze could blow something near the stove. Or a child or pet could set something on the hot stove (say nothing of dangerous burns!).
So, if you must leave the room, turn the stove off are ask another adult to supervise the burner.
Watch Out for Grease Build Up
Grease will slowly build up around the edge of your stove or burner. It may seem like no big deal at first, but then one day, it can ignite, causing a dangerous fire.
Clean up the grease around your stove regularly; this will help prevent the chance of fire. Also, never throw water on a grease fire! This is very dangerous and will cause the flaming hot grease to splatter towards you. Use the fire extinguisher instead.
Keep the Stove Clear
Some people like to store stuff all around their stove. This could be anything. Remember, wood isn’t the only thing that’s flammable. Even other food on the table or packaging can catch on fire and cause a dangerous situation.
Prepare a Kitchen Fire Plan
Before there’s a fire in your kitchen, take some time to plan how you and anyone else living in the home will respond. How will you evacuate if needed? Will one of you call 911 while the other uses the fire extinguisher? Does everyone within the home know where the fire extinguisher is and how to use it?
You need to answer these important questions before the fire starts.
Conclusion: What to Do After Using a Fire Extinguisher in the Kitchen
After using the fire extinguisher in your kitchen, you need to ensure everything is safe and that the residue is gone. Then, take some time to ask, “why did the fire start.” And ensure you have a clear plan of action the next time there’s a kitchen fire.