When preparing for emergency situations, including house fires, it’s always best to make sure you’re prepared for all possible scenarios. While in many cases it’s the best idea to leave the place of a fire, in some instances it’s possible to put out the fire yourself if it is still fairly contained. There are a few materials and household items that, if you keep on hand, can help put out a fire. These tips can also be used for intentionally made fires, such as a grill or campfire. However, in the event of a fire within your home here are a few simple means of extinguishing it.
Perhaps the most prominent tool when it comes to putting out small fires, the fire extinguisher is a powerful tool when dealing with a fire emergency. Each extinguisher comes in varying classes, each designed to put out a particular kind of fire. Make your fire extinguisher match up with the classification it is best suited for, so that you have the best chance of putting your fire out easily. When storing your extinguisher, make sure it’s in a place that’s easily visible and accessible so that you can grab it quickly if you need it.
Not only is water a natural extinguisher, but it also creates a cloud of vapor from contact with the heat from fire that will help keep any fire from further spreading. Water is particularly notable because of how easy it is to gather, however don’t rely on water completely. In most cases you won’t have an excess amount of water on hand during the event of a fire, and it won’t cut it to simply splash sink water on most fires. Additionally, never use water on a grease fire, which will cause it spread further, or electrical fires, which may create greater shock hazards.
Likely sitting in your cabinet right now, baking soda is surprisingly good at extinguishing fires. Because of its chemical composition, baking soda smothers fires at the base of the flame rather than just covering the top of it, which makes it especially good at putting out grease or electrical kitchen fires.
In the event of a cooking or grease based fire, a pan or skillet lid can be used to cover the fire and smother it. Because of the lack of oxygen the fire will suffocate, so only use this if there’s no way for the fire to get air from under the rim of the lid. Additionally, never use a glass lid as the intense heat from the fire can cause the glass to shatter.
Salt, also known as sodium chloride, is one of the primary chemicals used in fire extinguishers so it’s no surprise that it would be excellent at putting out fires on its own. In the event of a grease fire, salt can be used to easily put it out.
While there are many items or tools one might use to put out fires, it’s always best to remember that if you see a fire to make the judgment call on whether it is containable or not. There’s only so much fire a bag of baking soda or salt can put out and even fire extinguishers have limits. However, making sure you’re aware of what materials can be used to put out differing kinds of fires can save you a lot of hassle in the event of an emergency, and is a good thing to keep in mind.