A fire in the galley is not an unusual incident but can be a catastrophic one! If not contained quickly any fire can go from ignition to major in a matter of seconds.

Types and causes of galley fires

One of the common causes is someone is cooking, and they get called to help with something out of the galley. They go to help thinking they’ll only be a minute but, a minute turns into 5 and when they return to the galley there’s a fire!

The 2 types of fires normally encountered in a galley are:

  1. Oil based
  2. Electrical

Oil based fires are usually from cooking oil or grease with the most common causes being:

  • Too high a temperature in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Highly flammable vegetable oils
  • Old, more flammable oil in the deep fryer or saucepan
  • Fat deposits in and around the flue and ventilation ducts
  • Fat deposits in and around the cooking area
  • Leaving the galley unattended

The most common causes of electrical fires in a galley are:

  1. Faulty outlets or appliances
  2. Light fixtures
  3. Wiring

Most electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and old, outdated appliances. Other fires are started by faults in appliance cords, receptacles and switches.

Light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs are another common reason for electrical fires. Installing a bulb with a wattage that is too high for the lamps and light fixtures is a leading cause of electrical fires.

Chaffed, exposed or even old or outdated wiring often causes electrical fires. If the wiring does not have the capacity to handle electrical appliances being used you’re heading for a fire situation.

🔥 Simple steps in dealing with galley fires 🔥

 

Oil based fires

  • Raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Assess the situation: Is the fire controllable and will a fire blanket do the job or do you need a fire extinguisher
  • If a fire blanket will work then place it over the fryer or pot then turn of the heat sauce (gas or electricity); or
  • If it’s in a saucepan or pot put the lid on it
  • If a fire extinguisher is needed use a Dry Powder extinguisher to control the fire
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water
  • If practical use boundary cooling
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the cabin and close the door, shut down the power and air conditioning (if installed) to the cabin
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Prepare to abandon ship if necessary

Electrical fires

  • Raise the alarm – yell “FIRE FIRE FIRE”
  • Isolate (turn off) the electricity to the appliance or the entire area if required
  • If a fire blanket will work then place it over the item
  • If a fire extinguisher is needed use a CO2 if available or a Dry Powder extinguisher to control the fire
  • If practical use boundary cooling
  • DO NOT try to extinguish the fire with water unless you’re 100% sure the electricity has been isolated
  • If the fire becomes uncontrollable and you’re unable to extinguish the fire GET OUT, exit the cabin and close the door, shut down the power and air conditioning (if installed) to the cabin
  • Transmit an emergency call relevant to the situation.
  • If in danger of losing the vessel transmit a MAYDAY message or call the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) on 02 6230 6811
  • Prepare to abandon ship if necessary

Shorlink’s Recommendation

My 3 prevent a fire recommendations are:

  1. Never use an appliance with a worn or frayed cord, which can send heat onto combustible surfaces like floors, curtains, and rugs that can start a fire.
  2. Never, at any time or for any reason leave the galley when cooking
  3. Undertake regular electrical safety inspections

Tip

My top tips for preventing oil or grease fires in the galley are:

  • NEVER leave the galley when frying, grilling, boiling or broiling food. The number one cause of galley fires is unattended cooking!
  • Be alert and do not use the stove if you are sleepy of have consumed alcohol
  • Keep anything that can catch fire away from the stove top
  • Ensure the galley is kept clean and free from grease build-up
  • Keep the oil or grease at the recommended temperature. If you see smoke or the oil smells it’s an indication it’s too hot

By follow these simple tips the chances of a fire in your galley are reduced significantly.