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Beware Bad Advice Online

April 25, 2012

So many people think if it’s in a book or online it’s the absolute truth. Please dear readers, THINK when you see something posted.

I just saw a Facebook posting that alarmed me no end. It talked of a string and Crisco being an emergency candle that will burn for 45 days, something repeated on other websites. My response to both people posting it: “I would NOT NOT NOT do this! It’ll make a fire alright – that shortening tin will burn, the grease melts and ignites everything nearby. Still recall grease on a stove being ‘heated’ when the dog turned a burner on – set the pan, wall on fire. Fast thinking saved the house. Try it outside first…I wouldn’t do this without fire insurance. Seriously. ”

The Crisco company themselves say: ”

Disclaimer Text:

WARNING: Shortening will catch fire if overheated. Damage or serious burns may result. DO heat shortening carefully, uncovered, on medium heat. DO reduce heat if smoking occurs. DO NOT leave unattended while heating. DO NOT refill can with hot shortening.
IF SHORTENING CATCHES FIRE: DO turn off heat. DO cover pot until cooled to room temperature to avoid reignition. DO NOT carry pot until cool. DO NOT put water hot or flaming shortening.”

There are many good ideas online, and many can save time and money. Many can cost you dearly, up to and including lives. Cheaper and safer than burning shortening candles – get those little solar yard lights – under $20 for six of them. Set them out during the day – if you need emergency light at night bring them in. Vastly safer than burning oil!

In the last couple of days there has been much made of a not-for-human-consumption cow that was positive for BSE on testing – this doesn’t mean our food supply is in danger as she was not headed there. She was headed for byproducts (also tested) so unless you’re eating plastic, tires and other items made from byproducts you’re probably safe from eating possibly infected cattle.

Be aware when reading that just because it’s online doesn’t mean it’s true. People can claim anything and thousands of others can repeat it then “everyone knows” and it’s still untrue.

And some things are just a bad idea. Do have an emergency preparedness plan. But please, save the shortening for cooking with, not candles. There may well be many who will say “I did that and it works great.” Yes shortening (grease, oil) will burn. That doesn’t mean it burns the way you intend or want it to burn.

House fires suck. Losing everything is something those who have been through it wouldn’t wish on anyone. Don’t take risks prompted by bad ideas. It gives “watch this” a potentially devastating warning.


Edit update: This post continues to get comments from folks who “do it all the time” – which is great for them. I’ve had a house fire, and further had a fire from grease igniting. There is almost zero chance of fire with recharged solar lights, with no flame around dogs/children. If you choose to ignore warnings and do it, yes many do. I hope that it does not have devastating consequences.

  1. Judith Twitchell permalink
    December 19, 2012 11:38 PM

    You make a very good point about not believing everything you read online or in print (or on television or the news for that matter). But this includes your warning not to try the Crisco candle idea since neither you nor anyone referenced by you has tested it and you’re making your claim based solely on what you THINK might happen. (Your references were only for using the shortening on top the stove under different conditions.) However right you may be, you’ve undermined your effectiveness by not following your own advice. 8-/

    I think your idea to use the solar lights is a great idea. I’m going to get some just for the purpose of using them when I’m without electricity. But I’m also going to try the Crisco idea, except outdoors, as you hinted at, just out of curiosity. 🙂

    • December 20, 2012 10:57 AM

      Agreed! And it seems some have tried this without ill harm. However, where there’s dogs, children, trying times it pays, IMO, to err on the side of safety and caution. There are many things flammable – oil lamps burned many a homestead. We can see it as a risk or as a reason many moved to safer means of light. 🙂 If there is an emergency already, there may not be resources to help your home in a fire – hence my warning. The solar lights last longer, with no chance of flames burning anything. Thanks for stopping by – be safe!

    • November 11, 2013 8:34 AM

      Judith, I have to disagree with your statement that no one she referenced has tried it, and therefore, by that standard, this blog is not to be believed. She posted the disclaimer from the company that makes Crisco, calling it flammable and cautioning against overheating or putting hot Crisco back into the container. Companies do test their products, and based on those tests, they make sure the public is aware of the dangers by including disclaimers on their packaging and websites. I think that referencing the company’s stand on conducting this type of “experiment”, cautioning their consumers not to do so, is enough to say that this blog is believable and deserves merit.

      • November 11, 2013 2:15 PM

        Thanks for stopping by – people can assume their own risk, but when it goes wrong it’s too late to alter course. I hear fire trucks go out too often – if just one is prevented from blogging about it, it’s worth mentioning.

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