Common Kitchen Items That Can Act As A Fire Extinguisher

Posted on: 20 March 2015

There are over 3000 fire related deaths per year in the US with 80 percent of these occurring in households. Preparing for the eventuality of a fire can be done through simple means such as the purchase and maintenance of a fire extinguisher or through the installation of more complex systems such as smoke detectors and fire sprinkler systems. A fire extinguisher can cost anywhere from $10 for a single-use variety to about $800 for a reusable industrial type with annual maintenance at an additional $15 to $20. A fire sprinkler system is about $2000 to $16,000 depending on the size of your house.

Since most residential fires begin in the kitchen, if you do not have any of these systems or if you do and they somehow fail, there are some common kitchen (or not) items that can be used as emergency fire extinguishers. Here are a few. 

It's in the flow

Water is a common item that can be used in the case of a fire with elements such as wood, paper, trash, cloth or plastics. Should water be hard to reach, other liquids, such as that six-pack of beer in your refrigerator, can be equally helpful or even more helpful. Simply shake them and pour them over the flames. Beer can also serve as an emergency fire extinguisher in the case of a grease fire. 

That sudden urge to go, that can sometimes happen in an emergency, can be of use in a fire. Urine contains more than 90 percent water and can be used in a dire emergency. Sanitation is another matter. Bear in mind however, that water is not recommended for use on all fires as it can cause grease fires to splash and spread and can create an electrical hazard in electrical fires.

Solids and powder

Powdery substances in your kitchen, especially those that share the components of fire retardants are helpful in a fire. Baking soda is an example of a sodium bicarbonate, which has the advantage of being able to put out both grease and electrical fires. Simply dump the powder at the base of the fire. Flour can also be a cooling agent where it absorbs the heat while suffocating the fire. It can be used in place of soil or sand (other natural fire retardants) which is unlikely to be easily available in your kitchen. 

Salt is not just for savor. It is made of sodium chloride, which is also used in fire extinguishers. Salt works by reducing the oxygen that fire needs to keep burning and by reducing heat. It can be used on grease fires and even on the most dangerous fires of combustible metals (such as potassium, sodium and aluminum). 

Please remember that should a fire be spreading quickly despite your efforts, you should immediately leave the building and call the fire department. Talk to experts like Fire Extinguisher Service Center for more information.