The Spark of Electrical Fires
Fires in the home can come in many forms. One of the most dangerous fires is an electrical fire. Electrical fires are especially dangerous because not only is a fire ignited, the electricity has the potential to shock an unsuspecting victim.
Causes of Electrical Fires
Electrical fires often catch homeowners off guard when they are doing something they do everyday, like using a household appliance or plugging something into a socket or power strip. Below is a list of the common causes for electrical fires:
- Faulty outlets and appliances
- Light fixtures, lamps, and light bulbs
- Extension cords
- Space heaters
- Faulty wiring
December and January are the months with the most electrical fires due to an increased amount of heating appliances and lights. However, electrical fires can spark without the overhaul of Christmas lights. Overburdening your electrical outlets with any appliances can quickly spark an electrical fire.
How to Prevent an Electrical Fire
Here are some helpful tips to keep from falling victim to an electrical fire:
- Discard all cords and plugs that are worn or frayed
- Never break off the 3rd prong on a plug to plug it in to a 2-prong socket.
- Keep electrical cords away from water and heat sources.
- Avoid running electrical cords under rugs.
- When unplugging an item, hold the plug securely and remove the plug from the outlet.
- Only use extension cords temporarily
Properly Putting Out an Electrical Fire
Because electricity is involved, you cannot put out an electrical fire the same way you would a typical fire.
- Call 911 and GET OUT
- Call your local fire department or dial 911.
- Safely exit the building.
- Keep a safe distance from the building until fire fighters arrive.
- Disconnect the Electricity
- If an appliance is on fire, simply unplug the appliance by grabbing the plug and disconnecting from the wall.
- If the fire is in the wall or in an appliance you can’t unplug, safely get to the switch or electrical panel to shut off the electricity.
If the power is ON:
- Smother a small fire with baking soda.
- Use only a class C or ABC fire extinguisher. Remember to use the fire extinguisher properly.
- NEVER use water on an electrical fire that is still energized.
If the power is OFF:
- Use a fire extinguisher. If the power is off, it doesn’t matter which kind of fire extinguisher.
- Use a fire blanket or other thick blanket to smother the fire.
- Douse the fire with water. This is only safe and effective if the power source is OFF.
If your home or business has suffered an electrical fire, call SERVPRO of South Pasadena to speak to an expert about cleaning your home and saving your personal belongings!
For more information on the SERVPRO's fire restoration process, click here.