5 Tips for Putting Out Electrical Fires

Fires aren't all the same, and the type of fire dictates what you need to do to put it out. If you are facing an electrical fire, there are key steps you should take. Check out the following tips.

1. Don't Use Water

Conventional wisdom says to grab a bucket of water if you see a fire, but unfortunately, that doesn't always work. If you're facing an electrical fire, never use water. Water is a conductor, and you may get electrocuted if the electricity runs through the water to you.

2. Use a Class E Fire Extinguisher

After reaching for water, the next instinct most people have is to reach for a fire extinguisher. That is a great idea, but unfortunately, not all fire extinguishers are the same. To put out an electrical fire, you need to use a Class E fire extinguisher.

You don't necessarily have to buy different fire extinguishers for different possibilities. You can get extinguishers that are a combination of several categories. For example, you can get an ABE extinguisher. That works on paper fires and combustible liquids as well as electrical fires. For more information, contact fire extinguisher services.

3. Aim Toward the Base of the Fire

Don't point the fire extinguisher at the flames. Instead, try to figure out where the flames are coming from and aim the fire extinguisher at that. Sweep the extinguisher back and forth over the flames.

4. Try Soda Bicarbonate for Small Electrical Fires

If there isn't a class E fire extinguisher nearby, you may want to use some soda bicarbonate. This effectively smothers the fire and prevents it from getting the oxygen it needs to burn. For example, if you see some smoldering on an extension cord, you can try to put that out with soda bicarbonate. Simply, pour it liberally on the affected area.

5. Know the Warning Signs The best defense against an electrical fire is prevention. To protect yourself and your home or business, acquaint yourself with the warning signs of electrical fires. You may also want to educate your family, tenants, employees or whoever else uses your building. Flickering lights are often a sign that your electrical wires have issues that could lead to a fire. If you smell a burning odour coming from an outlet, that's another sign. Similarly, a feeling that you are being shocked when you touch light switches or appliances is another sign. If you notice these signs, don't just get ready to fight a fire. Instead, contact an electrician to help ensure you are safe.