Fires are extinguished by removing one of the three sides of the fire triangle. The fire triangle consists of fuel, oxygen and heat. These are required for a fire to burn. To extinguish fires you merely remove one side of the fire triangle. For example, adding water, removes heat, smothering the fire removes oxygen.
So how does this knowledge help you? It helps you to understand the principals of extinguishing a fire and lets you be a bit creative in your extinguishing methods.
Kitchen fires are one of the more common types and may be even more so after TEOTWAWKI. Fortunately, because you are usually in close proximity to the fires when cooking, they can usually be easily extinguished.
When a fire starts in the kitchen, you need to act fast to keep the fire from spreading. How you act depends on the type of fire that you have.
If you have a fire in the oven or the microwave, close the door or keep it closed, and turn off the oven. Don’t open the door! Removing the oxygen will normally suffocate the flames. If this fails to extinguish the fire, it may have already spread into surrounding materials, you need help or at least a water hose or a good fire extinguisher. See the following links for more information on fire extinguishers, Hand Pump Fire Extinquishers, What Type of Fire Extinguisher Do You need?, Improvised Fire Extinguishers can save your home.
If you have a kitchen fire, use one of the following methods.
If a pan is on fire, put the lid on the pan and turn off the stove. Be sure and use an oven mitt or hot pad to keep from burning your hands. You are removing the oxygen when you put the lid on and partially removing the heat when you turn off the stove.
If you can’t safely put the lid on a flaming pan or you don’t have a lid for the pan, you may have to use a use a dry chemical or CO2 fire extinguisher. Aim at the base of the fire not the flames. Don’t stand to close; you don’t want the force of the fire extinguisher to spread the fire.
Remember, never use water to put out grease fires! Water applied to hot grease will cause the grease to splatter spreading the fire and maybe causing you to be burned.
If you don’t have an extinguisher and can’t use water, baking soda or salt thrown on the fire will work. Never use flour, which can result in a dust explosion and spread the fire.
Smother the fire with a wet towel or other large wet cloth, can be an effective method if there is no danger from burning grease. I once put out an engine fire in a car by smothering it with an old raincoat.
Don’t swat at a fire with a towel, apron, or other clothing. You’re likely to fan the flames and spread the fire.
Use your imagination. I once put out a small fire with a pitcher of cool aid I grabbed from the refrigerator.
Always allow yourself an escape route. Never let the fire get between you and the way out.
After TEOTWAWKI with no outside help coming, and probably the use of open flame devices like candles, kerosene lanterns and misc cooking devices, you will have to be much more careful than normal. Get extra fire extinguishers and you can set bags of baking soda near your kerosene lamps. Keep extra fuel out of the house. Refill your lamps outside. Make sure you have good heavy bases on your candlesticks. Teach your children about the dangers of fire.
If the fire is spreading and you can’t control it, get everyone out of the house. If fire services are available, don’t waste a lot of time trying to control a fire before calling 911. I have seen people try and fight a fire themselves and forget to call 911 until to late. Make sure everybody in your family knows how to get out of the house safely in case of a fire. Practice your fire escape routes.