RV kitchen fires can be destructive and difficult to put out. An RV fire is especially threatening because the small space can fully go ablaze fairly quickly. There is an especially high number of RV kitchen fires during the holidays since people are cooking more than usual. Another reason is because people may be using their RV kitchen for the first time and aren’t as careful as they should be.
Below are some ways you can prevent RV kitchen fires and put them out if they do go ablaze. Go ahead and cook your lavish RV meals, but take a few precautions before you begin.
Water Over Fire = Fireball
The biggest mistake people make when a small kitchen fire erupts is to throw water on the flames. This is actually the worst thing you can do because you are essentially making the situation more combustible. Chances are that your kitchen fire is caused by oil. Adding water to fiery oil is just plain dangerous. Water will cause an eruption after it hits the pan and quickly heats up. These shooting flames are often what leads fire to catch onto other parts of the kitchen and eventually the entire RV.
If you’re not careful, you can easily start a fire in the oven, too. Are you cooking a turkey in your RV oven this Thanksgiving? Then be careful with greasing drippings when you baste. When baking, the drip from batter could also start a fire. Even food particles, like bread crumbs, can go up in flames. Believe it or not, forgetting you’re cooking can cause a fire and/or damaging smoke. Don’t count on the self-cleaning feature either because people have reported oven fires with that function turned on!
Cooking in an oven that is caked with food particles from months of cooking is pretty gross, and the smoke from recooking the mess can cause damage even if you’re lucky enough to avoid a fire.
Not only do you have to be careful so that you don’t drip grease into the oven while you cook your turkey, you should make sure that the oven is thoroughly clean before you start cooking. Sometimes, the biggest fault of an RV fire is a dirty oven. The dried-on bits of food and grease from your last cooking session can catch fire if you use the oven again without cleaning it first. Not only are the smell and fumes from the residual grime unpleasant, but they are actually a warning that the oven is not safe to use.
How Should I Put Out Flames in an Oven?
First, make sure to turn off both the oven and the stove without touching anything that may burn you. Keep the oven door closed. If you don’t, flames may shoot out and catch fire elsewhere. You may even burn your face and hair. In most cases, shutting off the oven and keeping the door closed will starve the fire. However, if it doesn’t seem to be slowing down and is growing quickly, leave and call 911 immediately.
If the fire seems to be dying out on its own, open your windows and try to air out the RV. However, do not open the oven until you’re sure the fire is completely out. Oxygen only feeds flames.
After the oven has cooled down, be careful removing the pan from the oven as it may still be very hot. Wait to clean up after you’ve ventilated the RV and everything is cool to the touch. Figure out the cause of the fire before using it again.
Broilers and Toaster Ovens
Broilers are common starters of fires. It’s here that we like to cook steaks, bacon and all sorts of greasy food. Be careful whenever you use the broiler, which should be cleaned after every use.
Most of us do not have toaster ovens in our RVs, but if you do, things like toast and garlic bread are the most commonly burned foods because people leave them unsupervised. Always stick around the kitchen until your food is done.
According to Bon Appetit, 33% of fires happen because food is left unattended while cooking. With that in mind, no, don’t leave to go pick something up from the store while there’s something simmering on the stovetop – ever.
Even though the idea of an oven turning into a burning furnace is pretty frightening, a kitchen fire that starts on the stovetop is potentially more dangerous and hazardous than an oven fire. When you turn off and close the oven, usually the fire dies out on its own due to the lack of oxygen. Out in the open and on the stove, a fire will continue to thrive unless you do something.
Covering the flames with a pan or pot to cut off the oxygen is the wisest thing to do. If that doesn’t work throw lots of baking soda on the fire. If the fire is not going out still, but you’re still not in danger, you’ll want to use your fire extinguisher. However, never stick around if the fire is growing quickly. You may be best off running out and calling 911.
More Fire Prevention Tips
- Never wear loose sleeves or hanging accessories like scarves when cooking on the stovetop or placing/removing food from the oven.
- Clean your oven regularly, not just when it begins to smell or smoke.
- Never leave anything unattended on the stovetop or in the oven.
- Place a larger tray beneath anything you’re cooking so the grease and juices do not drip over and become a fire hazard.
- Cover any food that may splatter. If you want crispy skin on your Thanksgiving turkey, you’ll want to keep the bird uncovered, but first make sure the juices at the bottom will not bubble over or splatter. Empty some of the liquid if you must to avoid this from happening and place a collecting tray underneath.
- Stock up on baking soda, which quickly extinguishes flames very effectively.
- Always travel with a fire extinguisher and make sure that it has not expired.
- Microwaves can catch fire because of old food particles too. Follow the same instructions as a regular oven.
Like a Homeowners Insurance policy, most Specialty RV Insurance policies cover fire, at least partially. Speak with an RV Insurance Specialist about your coverage and its limits (866) 501-7335.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.