Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Baking Soda & Grease Kitchen Fires

Watching News Channel 8 NewsTalk with DC Fire Chief Denis Rubin. Although the conversation is mostly regarding the DC water pressure issue, a caller asked a very good question. Thought everyone with a stove needs to know....especially of you don't have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
A caller from North West DC asked the following question: What is the best way to put out a grease fire if you don't have a fire extinguisher?

The Chief's Response: "Well first we would hope families would think about a fire extinguisher. I wish we could provide them but we can't. But the first step is to turn the heating element off...if its safe to do so shut off the gas, shut off the electric. The second is to place the lid on that pot of burning grease or bacon or whatever it might be. That will smother the fire. PLEASE DON'T USE WATER! Some folks think that if I just get over to the sink, if I can grab that spray nozzle to rinse off the dishes, boy I go it. What will happen is, that will become a running spill fire and will actually make the fire larger. Please have a fire extinguisher close by or baking soda is essentially what's in there...so use that if you have nothing else, if you are down to the very last choice. Then please don't stay there and fight the fire if it gets to be out of control. Once or twice a year we see a family where a person tries to remove a hot pot, moves it through the house, spews fire every where and usually ends up being seriously burned. So get the fire turned off on the stove, either the electric or gas, put a lid on it, that's always a great way of doing business, if you have none of those available (non reachable), baking soda is the same material that's inside of a fire extinguisher."


*  Do NOT pop the blister.Blisters are your body's way of protecting itself from infection. The skin around the burn will begin to swell so remove any tight-fitting clothing or jewelry that is near the burn. To help treat the pain, hold the burned area under cool running water or apply a towel or washcloth that has been moistened with cold water. Continue doing so until the pain has subsided.
* Don't use ice or ice water. Ice can shock the area and result in your body rejecting the cold, resulting in more burning from the inside as body defends itself against new threat.
* Cover the burned area with a sterile, dry bandage (such as a gauze pad) and avoid applying tape to the burned area. Also, avoid using ointments, petroleum jelly, or other home remedies on the burn, as these trap in the heat and will increase the severity of the burn. If the burn is on an extremity, keep that area elevated to combat swelling.


*DO NOT run cool water over the burn. Also, if there is any clothing that is stuck to the burn, don't remove it. You may, however, apply a sterile, dry bandage (such as a gauze pad), again avoiding the application of tape to the burn.
* Immediately cool the burn by placing it under cool water for 10-15 minutes. Cool water reduces skin damage and minimizes the pain.
* NEVER use butter, lotions, ice, or ointments. This only seals the heat in.

STOP where you are.

DROP to the ground, cover your face with your hands.

ROLL over and over to smother the flames

After a short break the Chief came back to address National Fire Safety Week.
A great goal would be to link between smoke detectors and how important they are and residential sprinklers.
The detector gets you out of the house and then the sprinklers extinguish the fire.
DC Fire Dept has fire extinguisher training. Tomorrow (October 7, 2009) at Gallaudet University they'll have  demo with 2 mock dorm rooms decorated by the students  and they will light both on. One has sprinklers and the other one doesn't. We know the result will be quite dramatic. Wag'N will do some on scene reporting since we will be there to hand over the pet oxygen masks.

Note that the technology of smoke detectors hasn't dramatically improved but has shown progress by merging smoke and carbon monoxide detectors all in 1 unit. Carbon monoxide is oderless, colorless, tasteless. That is your silent killer! So please don't risk your life over a $1 battery replacement! The instructions - if you kept them of feel like having a google moment - can tell you how to service it. If it beeps and annoys you, get a new detector! You can't get a new life!

 Did you know that more than 60% of homes don't have smoke detectors? Wow! Do you? Compliance in this case is to help save you. Like seatbelts they might not be super cool looking but wearing one can save your life! Smoke detectors are not expensive and you need to deal with it twice a year (change batteries). Is that really a government plot? Na. Maybe its a Wag'N Plot to keep your two and four legged friends safe!

FYI: Not all fires are caused by matches! You might not always be in the same room when its ignited either! Wag On! Get your smoke detectors NOW!

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