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How to Put Out an Electrical Fire

Many homeowners don’t consider the risk of an electrical fire. Overlooking the chance of an electrical fire has enormous repercussions and can even lead to the loss of life. Electrical malfunctions account for nearly 34,000 electrical fires per year, according to the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). As a homeowner, you might think that you’re exempt from house fires, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. As winter approaches and electrical outlets are being overburdened to run lighted decorations and appliances to provide heat, there’s a real risk of electrical fires starting.

Photo, overloaded electrical outlet Color High res

Common Causes of Electrical Fires

There are several main culprits to the propagation of electrical fires within a home, including:

  • Electrical Equipment: this includes things like outlets, extension cords, and even the wiring within the house. Outlets get worn down, and wiring inside them may make contact with the house and lead to a conflagration. Exposed wiring is another fire hazard, as are overloaded extension cords.
  • Portable Heaters: Common sense would suggest to keep portable heaters away from flammable objects like curtains or decorations. Sadly, in our enjoyment of a warm location, we overlook the necessary safety warnings and place heaters inconvenient but hazardous areas leading to fires.
  • Old Appliances: An older appliance like a fridge or a toaster might still be useful even though it’s a bit ancient. However, the older a machine is, the more of a fire hazard it can present. You should be aware of the age of your devices and try to update them before they get too old to get the latest safety measures that come with newer ones.
  • Overloaded Fuse Boxes or Electrical Panels: these electrical devices distribute power throughout the house. When you use far more power than your panel can supply, the panel may overheat, leading to a fire. Older electrical panels are especially susceptible to this kind of situation.

school-burning-due-to-electrical-fireHow To Deal with an Electrical Fire

While you might not be able to prevent an electrical fire that’s already started, there is a methodology for dealing with them and stopping them from consuming your entire home.

  • Immediately disconnect the electricity. You can achieve this either from unplugging the device that’s on fire or switching off the supply to the house.
  • If the fire is small, use baking soda to smother it. One of the biggest problems that we encounter with clients who have had electrical fires is that their instinct tells them that water is the way to solve a fire. You should NEVER use water for an electrical fire. If the fire is medium-sized, you may want to smother the flames with your clothing.
  • For more massive fires, get a fire extinguisher that’s rated for a Class-C fire. The use of the extinguisher should help to control the spread of the blaze
  • If the flame becomes too big to handle it by yourself, get out of the house, including all children and pets. Close the door behind you contain the blaze. Call the fire service immediately and stay away from the building. You should not re-enter your home under any circumstances until fire officers have given you the all-clear.

What Happens After an Electrical Fire

Provided that the fire doesn’t burn your house down completely, it’s a wake-up call to redo your electrical systems. The longer you leave them operating, the higher the likelihood of another electrical fire happening. The first thing you should do after an electrical fire springs up is to call a professional electrician for a site visit. LiveWire’s skilled professionals are well trained in spotting, potentially hazardous situations. Contact us as soon as possible so we can start turning a fire hazard into a safe home that won’t catch on fire when you least expect it.

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