Electrical fires can be incredibly dangerous and destructive. They can start in many ways, such as faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, and improperly installed electrical equipment.
Knowing how to put out an electrical fire can significantly prevent it from spreading and causing severe damage.
In this article, we will explore some essential tips and techniques on how to put out an electrical fire safely and effectively. So, let’s dive in and learn how to handle this critical situation.
- 1 How To Put Out An Electrical Fire
- 2 Smothering The Fire
- 3 Never Use Water
- 4 Preventing Electrical Fires
- 5 If You Are Unable To Extinguish The Electrical Fire
- 6 Conclusion
How To Put Out An Electrical Fire
When it comes to fire safety, knowing how to put out an electrical fire is a crucial skill everyone should have.
Electrical fires can happen anytime, and various factors, including overloading outlets, frayed wires, and faulty appliances, can cause them.
If you ever find yourself in an electrical fire, knowing how to extinguish it safely and effectively is essential. Here are the steps to follow:
Turn Off The Power Source
The first thing you should do when you notice an electrical fire is to disconnect the power source.
If the fire is small and contained, you can try to unplug the device from the outlet or switch off the circuit breaker.
However, if the fire is significant or spreading quickly, it’s better to turn off the main power supply to the entire building.
Use A Fire Extinguisher.
Having a fire extinguisher on hand is crucial in case of a fire emergency. A Class C extinguisher is The most effective type for electrical fires.
These extinguishers contain a non-conductive extinguishing agent that is safe to use on electrical equipment.
When using a fire extinguisher, remember to aim it at the base of the fire, not the flames themselves.
Smother the fire with a fire blanket.
You can use a fire blanket to smother the flames if you don’t have a fire extinguisher. Fire blankets are made of fiberglass, which is an excellent insulator.
They are ideal for putting out small fires and are safe to use on electrical equipment.
When using a fire blanket, ensure that it’s fully covering the flames and leave it in place until the fire is fully extinguished.
Pour baking soda on the fire.
Baking soda is an excellent fire retardant that can be used to put out small electrical fires. When baking soda is heated, it releases carbon dioxide, which helps to smother the flames.
To use baking soda to extinguish a fire, sprinkle it directly onto the flames until fully extinguished.
Call the fire department.
Even if you’ve managed to put out the fire, you should always call the fire department to come and inspect the area.
Electrical fires can be tricky, and hidden damage could cause the fire to reignite. The fire department will ensure the area is safe and secure before declaring the incident over.
Smothering The Fire
If you don’t have a fire extinguisher nearby, it is important to act quickly and efficiently to smother the fire before it gets out of control. One of the most effective ways to do this is using non-conductive materials.
Non-conductive materials do not conduct electricity, making them safe to use in electrical fires. Some recommended materials for smothering fires include a fire blanket, thick cloth, or sand.
These materials can help to cut off the oxygen supply to the fire, which will eventually cause it to die out.
Using a fire blanket is an excellent way to smother a fire. Fire blankets are specially designed to withstand high temperatures and can effectively smother a fire by cutting off its oxygen supply. They are also easy to use and can be quickly deployed in an emergency.
Thick cloth can also be used to smother a fire. Cotton or wool blankets or towels are ideal for this purpose, as they are non-conductive and can withstand high temperatures. However, it is important to note that synthetic materials such as polyester or nylon can melt and make the fire worse.
Sand is another excellent material for smothering a fire. Sand is non-conductive and can effectively smother small fires. It is also easy to find and can be used in outdoor fires such as bonfires or campfires.
In addition to using non-conductive materials to smother a fire, it is important to turn off the power source if possible. This can help reduce the risk of electrical shock and prevent the fire from spreading further.
Never Use Water
It is important to clarify that “Never use water” is too broad and can be misleading. While water can be problematic in certain situations, it is still widely used and effective for many purposes.
However, there are specific instances where water should not be used, as mentioned in points A and B. Let’s break down each point for clarity:
This statement is correct. Water is a good conductor of electricity, so using it to extinguish an electrical fire or in the vicinity of electrical equipment can be extremely dangerous.
The presence of water can potentially spread the fire or result in electrocution if it comes into contact with live electrical currents.
B. Avoid using water-based extinguishers on electrical fires:
Also correct. For the reasons mentioned above, water-based extinguishers, such as those using water mist or foam, should not be used on electrical fires.
Instead, it is recommended to use fire extinguishers specifically designed for electrical fires, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers or dry chemical extinguishers.
C. If a person is on fire, use the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique:
Absolutely. If someone’s clothing catches fire, the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” technique is recommended.
The person should stop moving, drop to the ground, cover their face with their hands, and roll back and forth to smother the flames. This technique helps to extinguish the fire and minimize the risk of injury.
Preventing Electrical Fires
Preventing electrical fires is crucial for ensuring the safety of individuals and minimizing property damage. Here are some important steps to help prevent electrical fires:
Electrical Inspections: Regularly inspect your electrical system to identify any signs of wear, damage, or potential hazards. If you notice frayed wires, loose connections, or any other issues, have them repaired by a qualified electrician.
Overloading Outlets: Avoid overloading electrical outlets by plugging too many devices into a single outlet or using multiple extension cords in a daisy-chain fashion.
Distribute the load evenly among outlets and use power strips with built-in surge protectors when necessary.
Electrical Cord Safety: Ensure that electrical cords are in good condition without any frays or exposed wires. Do not run cords under carpets or rugs where they can overheat.
Avoid using extension cords as a permanent solution; instead, have additional outlets installed by a professional electrician if needed.
Proper Wattage: Use light bulbs and appliances with the correct wattage for the fixture or outlet. A higher wattage than recommended can overheat the equipment and potentially start a fire.
Unplug Unused Devices: When not in use, unplug appliances and devices. This saves energy and reduces the risk of electrical fires caused by faulty or malfunctioning equipment.
Avoid Damaged Appliances: If an appliance is damaged, malfunctioning, or giving off unusual smells or sounds, discontinue use and have it repaired or replaced by a qualified professional.
Keep Flammable Materials Away: Keep flammable materials such as curtains, paper, and furniture away from electrical outlets, heaters, and other electrical equipment.
Install and Maintain Smoke Alarms: Ensure smoke alarms are installed on every level of your home and near sleeping areas. Test them regularly and replace batteries as needed.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs): Install GFCIs in areas where water is present, such as kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor outlets. GFCIs can quickly shut off power in case of a ground fault, reducing the risk of electrical shock and fire.
Educate Family Members: Teach your family, especially children, about electrical safety, such as the dangers of playing with electrical outlets or appliances.
Following these preventive measures can significantly reduce the risk of electrical fires and create a safer environment.
However, if you encounter any electrical issues or suspect a potential hazard, it is always best to consult with a qualified electrician for proper evaluation and resolution.
If You Are Unable To Extinguish The Electrical Fire
If you are unable to extinguish an electrical fire or if it continues to spread despite your efforts, it is important to prioritize personal safety and take the following steps:
Evacuate: Immediately evacuate the area and ensure that everyone in the vicinity is aware of the fire and evacuates. Alert others and follow any established evacuation procedures or emergency protocols.
Call Emergency Services: Dial the emergency services number (such as 911 in the United States) to report the fire. Please provide them with accurate information about the location and nature of the fire.
Close Doors: As you evacuate, close doors behind you to help contain the fire and prevent its spread.
Do Not Re-enter: Under no circumstances should you re-enter the building or area affected by the electrical fire. Let professional firefighters handle the situation.
Wait for Help: Once outside, move to a safe location away from the building and wait for emergency responders to arrive. Provide them with any additional information they may need.
Remember, personal safety is the top priority in any fire emergency. It is important to evacuate, alert others, and let trained professionals handle the situation.
It is crucial to handle electrical fires with caution and follow the appropriate steps to extinguish them safely. Remember, never use water on an electrical fire, as it can spread the fire or cause electrocution.
Instead, use fire extinguishers specifically designed for electrical fires, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) or dry chemical extinguishers.
If these extinguishers are not readily available, disconnect the power source if it can be done safely and evacuate the area while alerting others and contacting emergency services.
It is important to prioritize personal safety and seek professional help dealing with electrical fires to minimize the risk of injury and property damage.
Hi, I m Aaron Smith, a firefighter, and creator of Firefighterline.com, a website that provides top-notch training courses for firefighting organizations. After completing my studies, I quickly rose through the fire service ranks, eventually becoming Captain at one of the busiest fire departments in the state.