Today, our experts at Project X Restoration in Denver want to share a bit about how to put out different types of fires to help keep you safe. In the U.S., statistics show that a home fire occurs once every 86 seconds which is surprising to many people. Of course, not all fires are the same, so when it comes to putting one out in your home it’s good to know the difference.
Knowing how to put out different types of fires can save your home, and more importantly, you and your family.
Every one of the dozens of appliances in your home is a potential fire hazard. Generally, half of appliance fires are caused by electrical and mechanical problems while the other half stem from user error. Some appliances should be treated differently when it comes to extinguishing a fire.
- Microwave: If you can, shut the door, turn the microwave off, and unplug it. Shutting the door should suffocate the flames and cause them to die down. Fires need oxygen to continue growing.
- Oven: Oven fires can be treated much like microwave fires. The first step is to close the oven door and turn off the oven. Be sure to unplug it. If the flames start to escape, a multipurpose fire extinguisher should be used.
- Television: Televisions can start a home fire if there is not enough space for air to circulate and the heat from the television can catch items that are too close on fire. Curtains, decorative knick-knacks, and paper (like cards or photos) can easily ignite. In case of fire, pull the plug if possible and douse with water or use a fire extinguisher. Do not use a blanket to smother this type of fire because you cannot eliminate enough oxygen for smothering to be effective.
Some electrical fires are caused by appliance failure or faulty wiring, but the large majority stem from homeowner missteps like overloading outlets, running extension cords under flooring or carpet, and overloading light fixtures with higher wattage bulbs.
Electrical fires pose a particular danger because many people don’t know how to put out different types of fires. They understandably reach for water first when there is a fire. However, water conducts electricity so using water to douse an electrical fire, can cause flames to spread by spreading the electrical current and can potentially shock those who come in contact with the water.
To extinguish an electrical fire:
- Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher or smother the flames with a blanket.
- Unplug devices if you can do so safely.
- Shut down power to the area from the main, if it is safe to do so.
If you’ve had a fire in your home and need assistance with the cleanup and smoke damage control, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. We provide 24/7 emergency services, including board up to secure your home after the initial disaster.
Natural Gas Fire
A number of natural gas fires start in the kitchen, but natural gas fireplaces and heating sources can also be ignition points. Often the area around the stove, fireplace, or heater will overheat and start on fire. If the fire is small, smother it with a blanket or rug, shut off your natural gas main and open windows to ventilate the area. Call the fire department so that they can help you determine the source and whether there is additional danger.
If you are unable to shut off the main and ventilate the area, it may be best to let the fire department put out the fire. Natural gas builds up in a room and can explode easily, so it could be quite dangerous if not tended to properly.
America loves deep-fried turkey and lots of turkey lovers have seen infamous videos of the resulting fires. Grease fires aren’t limited to large turkeys in vats of oil. Something as simple as frying bacon can lead to a grease fire in the kitchen. When the oil in a cooking container gets hot enough, it ignites. Grease fires can be incredibly dangerous both because of how hot such fires burn but also because grease can splash onto other surfaces and even people.
This is another area where people don’t understand how to put out different types of fires. So, first and foremost, never ever throw water on a grease fire. Water can cause oil spatter that spreads the fire. In the case of a pot of oil, the water sinks to the bottom and pushes up the hot oil, causing it to explode from the pot.
To extinguish a grease fire, use the following steps:
- Cover the flames with the lid for the plan. Do not use glass lid because the high heat can cause it to shatter.
- Contrary to popular opinion, using flour, baking soda, sugar, or other powdered substance can be very dangerous. While these substances may be effective on a small fire, even in these instances, it would be better not to use them. Small, dust-like particles, such as those in flour in particular, can have an explosive reaction and achieving the smothering effect can require quite a bit of the substance and dangerously close proximity.
- Use a multi-purpose fire extinguisher or a Class B to extinguish grease fires.
Wood Burning Fireplace
Wood burning fireplaces may be the source of a house fire if they are left unattended or not extinguished properly. If the fire is small enough to be contained, spread the logs to help the fire cool faster, then cover the logs and embers with ashes or sand to smother any flames.
If there are no flames and no heat emanating, the fire has been extinguished entirely. Avoid using water because it can cause ash to be spread all over the room and it may even cause damage to your fireplace. In case of a larger fire, always call the fire department.
Knowing how to put out different types of fires properly can save your home and family. If you have had a fire in your home and need help with smoke damage, cleanup, and complete restoration, contact us here at Project X Restoration in Denver. We hope you’ll never need us, but we’re here if you do.