When I came into work yesterday, I found out a coworker had an ‘incident’ in the kitchen over the weekend for which he was awarded several severe burns. After a couple days of coworkers hounding him about possible infection, he’s finally making a trip to the doctor today. The large area on his arm appears to be third-degree.
The short story goes something like this. He left a pot heating on the stove filled with oil, no less – and walked upstairs and forgot about it until the smoke alarms started blaring. He ran back down to the kitchen and saw the flames, panicked, and threw a pail of water on the flames. Of course the water reacted much like gasoline when tossed on top of the grease fire, blowing the fire back at him. It severely burned the back of his forearm, his neck, and side of his face. He is extremely lucky to have gotten away with the burns he has, and that it wasn’t more severe.
In hindsight, he said he should have taken an extra second and stepped back to assess the situation. He stressed the importance to us of having a couple of extinguishers available, and checking the working condition of them regularly. It sure got me thinking – even after all the fire training we’ve had here at work, I can see me doing exactly what he did under duress. That is until now! When you come face to face with the results of a poor decision like that, it really packs a punch in the ole’ kisser.
In an emergency situation, it’s all too easy to make that snap decision you’ll regret – something I think we can compare to life itself. I know one thing, I don’t think I’ll be throwing water on a grease fire anytime soon.
The following information gathered via http://www.ehow.com
How to Put Out a Grease Fire
Don’t be caught unprepared when cooking in the kitchen. If you are working with grease or oil, it is critical that you know what to do in the event it catches fire. Should you ever find yourself faced with a grease fire in your kitchen, follow these steps to ensure that it is extinguished quickly and safely.
- Place a metal lid over the flame. Do not use glass since the heat from the fire can cause it to break.
- Smother the fire with a liberal amount of baking soda if it is relatively small and contained. Try finding a lid if possible. Because it requires so much baking soda to extinguish a fire, a lid is faster and generally more effective than baking soda.
- Spray the fire with a Class B dry chemical fire extinguisher. Use this method if it is your only option, because it will ruin food and contaminate kitchen dishes and utensils.
- Use a Class K wet chemical fire extinguisher if it is available. Though more effective for extinguishing large grease fires, these are generally found only in commercial settings.
- Call 911 immediately if the fire is not quickly extinguished or if it grows too large to be controlled. Leave immediately if you feel threatened or endangered in any way!!