Top Ways to Put Out a Fire Without an Extinguisher

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Fire extinguishers are a very common sight around offices and in factories and restaurant kitchens. However, they are often less likely to be found in people’s own homes.

If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in an extremely scary situation where you need to help to contain or put out a fire, obviously using a fire extinguisher is always going to be the first choice of action. But there are also other safe and trusted ways to put out a fire if there is no extinguisher handy at the time.

Safety First

Before you attempt to put out the fire with any of the suggestions given below, always ensure you have considered your own safety first and foremost. Always be sure that you have a definite safe escape route from the area. Calling for emergency assistance is paramount. You must remember that it is not your duty to extinguish the fire. You are only going to do your best to help to contain it if it is safe to do so.

Often within family homes, fires can be caused by (but not exclusive to) a forgetful senior relative. It is essential to know how to handle fires that could be caused by reasons such as forgetfulness.


The first of the alternative methods of extinguishing a fire is to throw the heaviest blanket you can find over the flames. When doing this, ensure you keep your body, and arms especially, away from the heat – this can be quite a scary thing to do so you must take care to keep yourself out of harm’s way. This method would be more suited to smaller fires as the blanket chokes the fire of oxygen, smothering the flames. You should only use this method if the blanket or heavy cloth is larger than the area of the actual fire. If a smaller blanket is used, it will be engulfed in the flames and only serve to feed the fire.

Cover with sand/baking powder/dirt

Another way of putting out an indoor fire is to cover it with sand or, if in a kitchen or indoors, baking powder/bicarbonate of soda. Interestingly, bicarbonate is one of the substances used in fire extinguishers anyway. You can also run outside and find some dry dirt which will stop it from spreading and help to extinguish the flames. If the fire is outside, kicking some dirt over it to contain the spread and smother the flames is the better option.

Kitchen fires

Many fires that happen in kitchen areas are grease-based and, if this is the case, the first thing to do is to turn off the source of the heat. This means turning off the burner on the stove (or any other heat source) but only if you can safely get close enough. If the fire has started in a saucepan, cover the pan with a metal lid or a baking tray to starve the fire of oxygen. Never cover it with a glass lid as this could explode. Don’t move the pan as this can result in a fire spreading further around the room. As with the electrical fire above, it is also possible to use baking powder or salt to smother the fire. It is important to note that while baking powder is suitable for this purpose, other similar-looking powders such as flour are not suitable as they only serve to feed the fire more.


In conclusion, while the correct fire extinguisher for the type of fire should always be the first option for putting out a fire, there are two other reliable methods that can be used. The first is to use a heavy blanket. There are specialized fire blankets available to purchase but, in the event of an emergency, grab the heaviest and largest blanket you can find and this will do the trick. The second option is to use one of the dry substances mentioned above.

After the Fire

If a fire has happened and you are unlucky to be the person dealing with it, you might need to seek help and advice from a trusted fire accident lawyer. They are equipped to deal with the heartache and fall-out following the devastation of a fire. Whether the fire is caused by issues that have not been fixed in your rental by your landlord, or somebody close to you has died as the result of a fire, you will need professional help.