Of course, you should always call 911 at your first opportunity when smoke or fire threatens your surroundings. You should also know that there are many different types of fires, and almost as many different ways to fight them. Understanding how to fight a particular type of fire may mean the difference between extinguishing the fire and making it worse.
Electrical Fires How to Fight Small Electrical Fires
Switch off appliance and pull out plug. Smother fire with blanket or Type C extinguisher. Never try to cool with water because water conducts electricity and can give you an electrical shock.
Portable Space Heaters
Use one with thermostat (not just switch) that shuts off by itself when tipped over. Plug directly into own outlet. Use in an area free of combustibles and well ventilated for heat escape. Never leave on overnight.
Requires a Class C extinguisher until power is shut off
Cooking Fires How to Fight Small Cooking Fires
Shut off stove or oven, smother pan with lid, baking soda or Type B extinguisher. Smother fire in oven by keeping door closed and/or throwing baking soda on food. Never Move the Pan. It will fan the fire or splatter grease. Never turn on the exhaust fan or use water. The fan will draw the flames into a concealed space. Let fat cool in oven or else contact with air may make fire flare up again.
Never heat cooking oil and leave room. The oil can ignite spontaneously! Keep combustibles away from stove, especially loose sleeves or scarves. Hot grease can spatter and ignite any paper, cloth, or wood materials nearby.
Fire In Oven
Avoid letting grease build up in any part of oven. A greasy broiler can catch fire even during preheating. If there is too much fat on a piece of meat, the grease may flare up and start a fire.
Gas Fires How to Fight Small Gas Fires
Shut off gas supply. Smother with rug, blanket or Type B extinguisher or cool with water. Ventilate the area to let out the gases. Call the Fire Department to have the area pipes checked for further hazards. Then call the gas company. If there is a gas fire, it may be better to let the gas burn rather than extinguish the fire, which would let the gas fill the room or house creating the potential for an explosion. Therefore, the primary key is to shut off the gas supply and call the fire department.
Never enter an area with a lighted match or cigarette if you smell gas from a pipe, heater or stove. Do not turn light switches on or off. The smallest spark or flame could ignite gas in the air and cause an explosion.
How to Fight Small Storage Fires
Smother with blanket or rug to cut off air supply. Use Type B extinguisher for rags, charcoal, liquids/solvents, hair spray/glue and Type A extinguisher for newspapers.
Oil Soaked Rag
Dry by spreading out in a well-ventilated room so heat can escape, and then wash. Never put oily rags in a pile because they can ignite themselves. Store in labeled metal containers sealed with a tight lid.
Store unused chsarcoal in a cool, dry place because damp charcoal can ignite itself. Use metal pail/garbage can with tight lid and place in open space where heat can escape if self-ignition should occur.
Never use or store in room with pilot light, or too close to hot light bulbs because vapors in air can easily be ignited. Store in cool, dry room in labeled metal containers with tight lid.
Stacks of Newspaper
Avoid storing in a damp, warm place because newspapers generate heat and can ignite themselves. Store in cool, dry place at least 3 feet away from any heat-generating source, such as a pilot light.
Heating Fires How to Fight Small Heating Fires
Call the fire department if stovepipe is red or fire is in chimney. For furnaces, radiators, water heaters, immediately shut off. Smother if electrical. Use only water/Type A extinguisher if gas is the source. Douse a fire in fireplace with baking soda, water or Type A extinguisher if fire is up in the chimney.
Fireplace Wood Stoves
Use only dried woods (less smoke, dirt), never flammable liquids. Dispose of cool ashes in lidded metal container. Never leave fire unattended. When burning, keep damper open, keep flammable material away and glass door/screen closed.
Furnaces, Radiators, Water Heaters
Install properly and safely away from walls and ceilings. Never put combustibles on or near units. Keep ducts and filters dust-free by cleaning several times a year with unit shut off.
This information is provided by the Buffalo Grove Fire Department as a public service. Questions? Call the Buffalo Grove Fire Prevention Bureau at 847-537-0995. Or email the Fire Department