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How to Prevent & Put Out a Kitchen Fire

Learn how to prevent and douse a kitchen fire in this Howcast video.


So you want to deep fry at home. You can use the wok. You can use the pan. Just don't put too much oil in there. This pan is actually, I've got it on the stove here, I'm going to start a fire and I'm going to show you how to put out a chip fire. The one thing you have to remember is that water and oil do not mix. If you throw water onto a burning chip pan, you are going to the hospital.

Ideally, you have a thermometer. That is the best way to get the temperature right, and there is an absolute sweet spot, where the gas is at a certain level. It rules at 350, it's not getting hotter. It's not getting colder. The other way is just to have a little bit of water, I flick a bit of water into the pan, and if you hear that bubbling away you know you're somewhere between 325 and 350.

This is what you don't want to happen. You can see the smoke coming off of there. This oil is getting pretty close to flash point. The only way to put out a deep fat fryer, unless you have specialized fire blankets is by having damp clothes. So if you're deep fat frying at home, I always suggest having cloths close by, and if there is a fire you can use damp cloths to put it out.

You're basically just smothering the fire. This is hopefully not going to be bigger than I think it's going to be. Ideally, you're going to go out and you're going to buy yourself a fryer with a thermostat, and you can have a lot of safe fun, but I realize that, you know a lot of people don't have the space for that or the money for that. So I'm going to show you how to deep fry with the equipment you already have.

When the oil hits the flash point, all it takes is the oil in the air to go on fire. It doesn't need to have any flame and it's a ferocious fire. I mean you'd think water boils at 212, we cook at 450 in our big fryer. This is probably running close to 500 right now. If you splash yourself, you're going to burn yourself. All of our chefs have burns. It happens every now and again. It's unavoidable in the environment we work it.

When you put things into the fryer, you always put them away from yourself, so if it does splash it splashes that way. And you put things in really gently, you don't be scared of it, and sort of throw things in like that, because it's going to splash. There you go. That's the flash point of the oil. The only way to put a fire like that out is to turn the gas off. You get yourself a damp tea towel and smother it.

Use a couple and then just leave it well alone. Let it cool down on its own and you're safe. If I was to throw water on there it would be a massive, flaming oil coming back at me, and I would have been down at the hospital. You can see that actually if you take that off, it may well still be at flash point. You can pick it up if it's not too full and carry it outside to get rid of the smoke in the house. We're lucky we have an extraction system. But that's how to put out a fat fryer.

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