Whether you are an electrician that works on a power line or live in a home filled with electronics, an electrical fire can break out and lead to devastating outcomes for your home and your family. Luckily, there are many tips for staying safe during an electrical fire.
In this guide, you will learn about the common causes of electrical fires and what you should do if you ever find yourself in one of these situations. With this in mind, here is your guide on electrical fire safety.
Know the Common Causes of an Electrical Fire
If you know the common causes of an electrical fire, you can heed the warning signs and take the appropriate steps towards keeping everyone safe in your home. When your wiring gets installed incorrectly, it could create sparks, which will lead to a fire.
Also, any extension cords or circuits in your home that get overloaded with power can burst into flames. Any defective outlets, plugs, or switches could also lead to an electrical fire. Finally, when you fail to maintain or properly use your lights, their wiring could spark and turn into a fire.
Follow the Warning Signs of Faulty Electricity
As you know, there will be warning signs that your electrical system is faulty before it sparks an electrical fire. If you find any of these signs in your home, you need to contact an electrician immediately to rectify these problems.
Some of the most prevalent signs that an electrical fire could break out are dimming or flickering lights, light switches that feel hot or emit a nasty odor, and switch plates, outlets, and cords that appear discolored from burns. In addition, if your home constantly trips the circuit breaker or blows through fuses, this could mean that your electricity is faulty. Having a licensed electrician that you trust in your contact book will help you prevent these problems from getting out of hand.
Practice Cord, Plug, and Outlet Safety
Another tip for preventing an electrical fire from breaking out is to practice outlet, cord, and plug safety guidelines. Since these are the primary areas where electricity will come from in your home, you will want to make sure that none of them are generating excessive amounts of heat. When the heat that’s generated by your appliances gets out of hand, it causes a fire.
To prevent your plugs, cords, and outlets from causing fires, first you must ensure that you aren’t running any cables beneath your carpets, under your furniture, and near your bed. All these things are combustible.
Next, take a look at all your cords and throw away any of them that are broken or have ripped. The risk of a fire is not worth the money you will spend on a couple of new cords. Furthermore, if you use extension cords in your home, make sure that you don’t overload them with electronics because it will cause one outlet to become a hotbed for electrical power.
If necessary, you may need to reach out to an electrician to install more outlets in the room. Lastly, ensure that your outlets cover your plugs adequately to prevent you from getting shocked or burned.
Understand What You Need To Do During an Electrical Fire
Sometimes an electrical fire is inevitable, so you must know what you need to do when one breaks out. Arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) will stop a fire from breaking out before it can start by recognizing when conditions are dangerous, so you should consider installing them in your house if you don’t have them already.
Nonetheless, when one of your circuits becomes a shocking hazard, a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) will cut the power. Once the flames are alight, you will have to use a fire extinguisher to put them out.
A helpful acronym to remember when using a fire extinguisher is PASS: Pull your pin, Aim the extinguisher towards the ground, Squeeze the lever evenly, and Sweep your nozzle from side to side. When you pull the pin, make sure that the nozzle is pointing away from you so that you don’t cover yourself and lose your grip.
Also, you should know that there are five different types of fire extinguishers that manufacturers designed for separate fire classes. Class A extinguishers can put out fires on paper, cloth, and wood products, while Class B models are for flammable or combustible liquids, such as grease, oil, and gasoline. Class C extinguishers are for larger appliances such as your TV, oven, or refrigerator.
On the other hand, a Class D extinguisher can put out flammable metals in case you accidentally put aluminum foil in the microwave. The last type is Class K, which works best on cooking oil that you might see in a commercial kitchen, like olive oil.
If you live in an apartment, there is probably a multipurpose extinguisher in your unit that can handle Class A, B, and C, but you can purchase all five types of fire extinguishers at your local hardware store. Therefore, if an electrical fire is small enough, you should be able to eliminate it completely with your fire extinguisher.
Have a Fire Plan in Place
If the fire is too big for you to put out on your own, then you need to call the fire department immediately. Due to the circumstances, you and your loved ones must evacuate your home so that you can escape without getting hurt. You should have a fire plan in place with your family so that everyone can get out in two minutes or less.
In addition, you will want to practice this plan to ensure that everything runs smoothly. If your clothes catch on fire, remember to “Stop, drop, and roll.”
Stop moving and drop to the ground, then roll until the fire is out, and you should be safe. For this reason, you may want to invest in some fire-resistant or FR work shirts, especially if you work in industries such as oil and gas, electricity, utility, etc.
Overall, electrical fires are scary, but now that you know a few tips for staying safe during an electrical fire, you should be able to handle whatever happens to your home. This guide should serve as a reminder to always check your smoke alarms to ensure that they have enough battery power and to restock your fire extinguishers if you don’t have one.