How to Safely Put Out a Kitchen Fire in a California High Fire Zone
If you rent in in California and especially if you rent in a high fire zone, it is important to be aware of safety measures you should have in place, such as fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, and evacuation plans. It is also important to be prepared for a potential emergency situation, including having an emergency kit with essential supplies, as well as staying up-to-date on local warnings and evacuation routes.
If you live in an area at a high risk of such incidents, it’s also essential to get renters insurance in order to safeguard your belongings and finances. This will provide you with the peace of mind that you and your family are financially secure in the event of an unexpected fire.
First, let’s step back and get an understanding of what we mean by a high-risk zone, and whether you might be living in one.
What Is a High-Risk Fire Zone?
The state has designated areas of heightened risk during wildfire season based on local vegetation, history, topography, and other factors. With this information, the State Fire Marshal has designated various areas of the state as being in a moderate, high, or very high risk fire zone.
Anyone who’s lived in the Golden State for any period of time knows about our notorious wildfires.
Forests on fire are a natural part of the ecosystem. Problems occur in California because of the frequent drought conditions in the state and our uneasy mix of wilderness and human settlements.
As a result, in California, from late spring to the end of fall, it can mean tragic tales of homes, neighborhoods, and even entire towns burning down.
What’s the California risk where you live? Check the map.
What Do California Fires and Risk Zones Have to Do With Your Kitchen?
Hopefully, nothing. However, if you live in even a moderate-risk zone, and it’s a very dry summer or fall, you could be playing with fire — literally.
During dry seasons, local fire marshals advise extra caution and forbid campfires in troubled areas to reduce the risk of a wildfire. Any activity that could create a spark is discouraged, as the slightest flame has the potential to ignite a blaze that can consume thousands of acres of forests, threaten wildlife, and even put human lives in danger.
Now imagine how a kitchen fire, if it reaches the right kind of fuel and the right conditions, can quickly escalate to a devastating forest fire causing immense damage to not just your home, but its surroundings as well.
Preventive Tips to Minimize Kitchen Fires
First and most importantly, take proactive action to minimize the risk in the first place. That means practicing prudent safety at all times.
- Never leave your kitchen while cooking, and don’t cook when sleepy or under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. The risk here is in falling asleep while the stove is still on.
- Make sure your oven and all burners are turned off before you leave the kitchen.
- Remove all cords and flammable objects from anywhere near your burners, and never disable a smoke alarm while cooking.
- It can be dangerous to neglect cooking oil while it’s on the stove. Your oil can overheat quickly, start to smoke, and erupt into flames in a surprisingly short period of time. Dial down the heat, and stay present while heating oil.
- Frayed appliance cords can lead to electrical fires, so keep an eye on this risk. And never use a power strip to plug in multiple cords. When you leave the kitchen, unplug all appliance cords.
- Never put hot grease in a trash can. Instead, keep a metal can or container for the purpose of hot grease or oil disposal.
These few easy tips will greatly minimize the risk of a kitchen blaze and the threat spreading to the rest of your home, your neighbors, and even your entire community if you live in a high-risk zone.
How Should You Safely Handle Kitchen Fires?
If the flame is small, an extinguisher can be used to put out the flames. However, caution should be taken as using the wrong type for the fire can cause it to spread instead of being extinguished.
For example, you should smother a grease fire by putting a lid or cookie sheet on a burning pot, or use a dry chemical extinguisher. Never dump water on a grease fire, as it could simply spread the flames. What you want to do is deprive the flames of oxygen, which will put them out. And don’t forget to immediately turn the heat source off. If you don’t have a chemical fire extinguisher, baking soda can be used to suppress small grease fires.
If the flames grow too large or dangerous, leave the kitchen and the house immediately. Contact the fire department and allow them to handle it. Do not attempt to put it out yourself. Remain outside the home until the professionals arrive and it is safe to re-enter.
Protect Your Belongings and Home
If the worst was to happen despite your best kitchen fire safety practices, you could be left homeless, at least in the short term. However, a renters policy will help.
Renters coverage goes beyond replacing all your personal belongings damaged, destroyed, or lost in a natural disaster, burglary, or other mishap. One key benefit of most policies is that your claim can include payment for temporary housing for as long as you need it while your rented space is being rehabbed. This is something that could cost you well over a thousand dollars a month in California if you had to pay for such temp housing out of pocket.
And for all this financial security, a policy typically costs less than 50 cents a day. You can get the most affordable rates by dealing with an independent renters insurance agent.
An agent who works for just one insurance company can only provide you with renters insurance coverage from that company. However, independent agents have contractual relationships with multiple major carriers. That means they can shop around for competitive offers and bring you the best benefits at the best rates.
Find Affordable Renters Insurance in California Today
Protect your kitchen, your home, and your community. Call Cost-U-Less Insurance at (800) 390-4071 or get a fast and free online quote for cheap renters insurance for Californians. You can also find a Cost-U-Less location near you to meet in person with an independent agent.