Most people don’t consider how to put out an electrical fire until it’s too late. This is a mistake, as there are some vital things that you will need to know before the situation arises, otherwise you could easily make matters much worse. Electrical fires are common in both homes and workplaces, and they are incredibly dangerous, so it’s important to create a plan of action for if one occurs. For the safety of your family, or employees, we have put together a detailed guide that will help you prepare to face an electrical fire – and we will also show you how to prevent them in the first place.
Safe Ways to Put Out an Electrical Fire:
The first thing you need to do if an electrical appliance catches fire in your home or workplace is to take care of yourself. Decide whether the fire is too large to control and if it is, get out as quickly as you can and let others know that they need to evacuate the building as well.
Also, you may be panicking, but it’s essential that you don’t automatically throw water on the fire – this only makes electrical fires worse, and you could be electrocuted. It’s also important that you cut off the electricity before you try to put out the fire. If you know what appliance is causing the fire, then try to unplug it, otherwise turn off all the electricity. After this, there are several safe ways to put out the electrical fire, including:
- Fire extinguisher:
If you have a functional CO2 fire extinguisher (these are the ones with a black or white band) then you can use it on an electrical fire. Just pull the pin, aim the nozzle at the base of the fire, squeeze the trigger and then sweep it from side to side to ensure all of the fire is covered.
- Fire blanket:
Another safe way to extinguish an electrical fire is to smother it with a fire blanket – this removes the oxygen source and puts the fire out safely.
- Bicarbonate of soda:
This may seem unusual, but bicarbonate of soda contains sodium bicarbonate, which is an ingredient in CO2 fire extinguishers. So, if you don’t have a fire extinguisher – and the fire is reasonably small – then you can smother the flames by pouring bicarb soda on them.
How Do Electrical Fires Start, and How Do You Prevent Them?
More than one-fifth of all accidental fires in Australia are electrical, and they can be especially dangerous because often you don’t know they are there until it’s too late. There are several common causes for electrical fires in homes and workplaces, such as:
- Damaged or old electrical outlets:
Over time, the outlet blades that grip the prongs on electrical plugs slowly wear out. When the blades don’t grip the prongs properly it increases the risk of causing a fire, especially if there is something flammable like carpet or furniture near the outlet. If the outlet is discolored, has burn marks around it, or you have to wiggle the plug around to get it into the outlet – then you should call an electrician to come and replace it.
- Worn out or broken cords:
Electrical cords can break down over time just from being rolled up around an appliance or being stored in a tight space. Once the insulation inside the cord wears out, then the cord has no protection and can produce electrical discharges – and this is what leads to fires. Cracked or frayed cords are also a fire hazard for the same reason. You can avoid old cords causing electrical fires by always replacing them as soon as they wear down. Don’t use an appliance that has a broken or old cord, just wait until you get a new one.
- Overloaded outlets or too many extension cords:
Lots of people use extension cords and adapters to plug way too many things into one outlet. They put high-wattage lights, laptops, phones, and other devices into one outlet and it has to produce much more electricity than it was designed to. The outlet can then become overloaded and will overheat – which is a fire hazard. Always make sure you check that the outlet can handle the power requirements of the appliance you are plugging in, and maybe get an electrician to come and install more outlets so that you don’t overload them.
Why an Electrician Should Complete an Electrical Safety Inspection:
Now that you know how to put out an electrical fire, it’s essential that you take any necessary steps to avoid them occurring. This includes having a licensed commercial electrician in Perth come and complete an electrical safety inspection on your property. A qualified electrician will be able to identify any electrical hazards and will determine what you need to do to reduce the risk of electrical fires.
Scott Comms is a reliable, experienced electrical company, and our team of expert electrical contractors in Perth will ensure your property is safe from electrical fires. Contact us today to learn more about our services.