Electrical fires are scary and dangerous. They can happen anywhere, from your home to commercial buildings and industrial sites. Electrical fires are fast-moving and difficult to put out. They can be challenging for even the most seasoned fire department, let alone a private home or small business. However, if you follow the right procedures and instincts, you can reduce the risk of an electrical fire in your home or business to almost zero. Here’s how to put out an electrical fire safely and efficiently.
How To Put Out An Electrical Fire?
Step 1: Know Where the Electrical Fires May Occur
Electrical fires can occur anywhere in an industrial facility where electricity is used, including on equipment, switchboards, and wiring. Therefore, you should be aware of common places where an electrical fire can start. Some of the most common places where fires occur include electrical equipment rooms, machine rooms, motor control centers, and transformer rooms. To prevent electrical fires in these areas, you should use RCCBs, arc-fault circuit breakers, or AFCIs. Other areas where electrical fires can occur include live equipment, a live cable, or live wiring. To prevent these fires, follow the appropriate guidelines in your fire safety plan.
Step 2: Lock Down the Room
If you see smoke or sparks coming out of the equipment, first, lock down the room to keep people out until the fire is put out. This will ensure that there is no one inside the room when the fire breaks out. Lock the door to the room, and keep the room unoccupied until the fire is put out. If there is a hazardous gas release, keep the door closed, and use respirators to avoid breathing it in. If there is a risk of explosion, evacuate the room and keep people out of the area until the fire is put out. If there is a risk of electrical shock, turn off the power at the main switchboard, and call the emergency response team.
Step 3: Use Fire-Fighting Foam
If the source of the electrical fire is below the level of the equipment, you can use fire-fighting foam to put out the fire. The foam will immediately cut off the oxygen supply to the fire, thereby putting out the fire. To use foam, first, shut off the source of the electrical fire. For example, if the electrical fire is coming from the wiring, turn off the switch. Next, position the equipment to direct the flow of the foam towards the source. If the source is below the level of the equipment, direct the foam by using a long probe.
Step 4: Use Dry Powder Fire Extinguisher
If the electrical fire is above the level of the equipment housing, you can use a dry powder fire extinguisher to put out the fire. The dry powder from the extinguisher will break down the thermal bridge between the electrical source and the flammable material. It will also decrease the amount of heat in the area so that the fire does not spread. To use a dry powder fire extinguisher, follow these steps: First, close the door to the room. Second, position the equipment to direct the flow of the powder towards the source of the fire. Third, use the appropriate nozzle, gauge, and distance to put out the fire safely.
Step 5: Ventilate the Room After Putting Out The Fire
After putting out the electrical fire, you must ventilate the room to remove any smoke, carbon dioxide, and other toxic gas remaining in the room. Although you have put out the fire, you must continue monitoring the room until you are certain there are no other fire hazards. To ventilate the room, first, open windows and doors to get fresh air into the room. Then, use the exhaust fans to suck out the toxic gases from the room. If you don’t have exhaust fans or windows and doors leading outside the building, you can use a carbon dioxide removal system to suck out the toxic gases.
What To Do When You Discover An Electrical Fire?
Call The Fire Department Immediately
The first thing you should do if you discover an electrical fire is called the fire department as soon as possible. Electrical fires are extremely dangerous, and you should never attempt to put out an electrical fire on your own. Electrical fires produce large amounts of toxic smoke and can lead to dangerous carbon monoxide buildup if they are not dealt with quickly. Only trained firefighters can safely put out electrical fires, and they have the tools and equipment needed to minimize damage to surrounding structures.
Shut Off The Electricity
If you can safely shut off the electricity to the area where you spotted the electrical fire, do so immediately. Electrical fires have the potential to spread quickly, and shutting off the electricity will prevent the fire from growing even bigger. While it’s best to completely shut off the electricity at the source, if you can’t do so safely, try to shut off the electrical panel that services the area where the fire is occurring. Shutting off the electricity will also prevent other electrical issues from occurring in your building, saving you money in the long run.
Fix What Caused The Fire
If you discover the electrical fire was caused by faulty wiring in an old outlet or circuit breaker, you may be able to prevent similar fires from occurring in the future. For example, you could install new circuit breakers or replace old outlets that have worn-out wiring. In order to prevent future electrical fires, make sure to keep an eye on your electrical system to ensure nothing is wearing out or becoming frayed.
Tips For Avoiding Electrical Fire
Check Your Wiring And Electrical Devices Regularly
It’s important to know the condition of your home’s wiring and electrical devices. If you notice any damage, loose wiring, or if you smell burning, you should have your electrical wiring and devices inspected. If there is damage to the wiring, it should be repaired by a qualified professional immediately. If there are any devices that are malfunctioning, they should be replaced. If you aren’t qualified to check your wiring and electrical devices, you should hire a qualified electrician to perform an inspection. An electrical inspection is relatively inexpensive and can help you identify potential issues, allowing you to repair them before they result in a serious house fire. Electrical devices should be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of dirt, dust, and other debris. Vacuuming electrical devices on a regular basis will keep them free of dirt and grime, reducing the risk of overheating and fire.
Install Fire Detectors
Nearly a third of all home electrical fires occur due to wiring issues. The best way to protect yourself from wiring fires is to install fire detectors. Install fire detectors in areas where wiring is present, such as the attic, basement, and other areas where wiring is found. You should also install fire detectors in your electrical panel. The sound of a fire detector will give you ample warning and time to get out of the house. If you’re installing fire detectors in areas where wiring is present, make sure you purchase a type of fire detector designed for areas with wiring. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers an online guide that can help you select the right type of fire detector for your home.
Turn Off Appliances When Not In Use
Appliances that aren’t used regularly can accumulate dust and dirt, a potential fuel for a fire. Make it a habit to turn off appliances when they aren’t in use, and clean them regularly to keep them free of debris. Be especially vigilant about cleaning appliances when you have dust or leaves blowing around your yard, as these items can easily become trapped in your appliances, resulting in overheating and the risk of a fire. If you have a refrigerator or freezer that isn’t being used regularly, you should unplug it. It’s best to unplug appliances that aren’t being used, even if they are turned off.
Be Careful When Using Extension Cords
Extension cords are wonderful tools, but they can also be the source of electrical fires. Extension cords should be inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear. Damaged extension cords should be replaced immediately. If you use an extension cord, make sure it’s the appropriate size for the appliance you’re plugging in. Extension cords should only ever be used temporarily. If you have an ongoing need for an extension cord, you should have the circuits in your home repaired.
Electrical fires are dangerous and can be difficult to spot and put out. They can happen anywhere, from homes and businesses to industrial sites, and are caused by a range of issues. If you are at home and spot an electrical fire, follow the evacuation procedures above. If you are at work and spot an electrical fire, evacuate the building and call the fire department immediately. Follow the guidelines above to put out the fire and keep yourself and others safe.