Again, it’s vital to avoid water in these situations. The best flame retardant during an electrical fire is baking soda. Next, read about how to put out a grease fire.Â, This article, originally published on Dec. 12, 2017, has been updated. Once 1 of the 2 is blocked, it is time to evacuate. First, shut the door, then turn the power off at the mains, providing you can reach the socket safely. Water is a natural conductor of electricity. To put out an electrical fire, you The easiest and safest way to handle any fire is by using a class C or ABC fire extinguisher. 2. If you are unsure whether a fire has been caused by live electricity or something else, err on the side of caution and don't use water. Check your fire extinguisher. Once you see a small fire start, throw baking soda on the flames. It contains a chemical called sodium bicarbonate – which believe it or not – is found in many class-C fire extinguishers. Call 911 as soon as you are a safe distance from the fire.Â, Do not re-enter your home until the fire has been contained by firefighters.Â, Invite an electrician to inspect the home to ensure it meets the safety provisions in the NEC. The breaker box is another option to turn off the power. Many electrical fires start at overloaded appliances. If an electrical fire does break out, then it’s best to put it out with a carbon dioxide or dry powder fire extinguisher. Electrical fires are especially dangerous because your first instinct - to reach for a bucket of water to douse the flames - will actually cause the flames to spread, since water conducts electricity. Approved. Develop an evacuation plan for the home, with family members practicing it periodically to ensure preparedness in the event of an emergency. Electrical fires can be put out by a Class C fire extinguisher. They are very dangerous.Â, While it is important to remember these steps in order to take appropriate action during an electrical fire, it’s equally, if not more, important to take action to prevent them from occurring in the first place.Â. Sixty-five percent of fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors. All tip submissions are carefully reviewed before being published. Small electrical fires can be put out with baking soda. Don’t use anything like blankets, or similar, to smother the flames, as they’re much more likely to ignite themselves. Many fire extinguishers made for home use are ABC extinguishers. If the fire is large, evacuate immediately, shut off the power if possible, and call your local emergency services. Remove the oxygen source. You can smother a small fire with baking soda if you have that nearby. Learn more... Electrical fires can happen at any time and can be caused by a wide range of problems, including faulty wiring or overloaded appliances. If it’s a wire or receptacle, shut off the power at the panel. Engel lives in Wichita, Kansas. Oxygen, on the other hand, is what the fire needs to burn. Another example is when too many Christmas lights are plugged into each other, it can create enough heat to start a fire. If the fuel for the fire you are fighting is kerosene, oil, or another liquid fuel, be careful putting water on it. Cut off the electricity. This means that you can easily shock yourself if you use water to try and put out an electrical fire. In this case, which happens mostly with heaters and other appliances that create heat, the heat generated by the unit is too much for the wires to handle. In a situation where electricity is the source of a fire, it is best to contact a professional to fix the problem. Then, follow these steps to put out an electrical fire at home. Copyright © 2020 It's the most comprehensive and trusted online destination for fire service professionals worldwide. Co2 is used in fire extinguishers, it actually removes two of the elements fire needs to make fire. In addition to these tips, it is also imperative to practice good fire safety habits. % of people told us that this article helped them. Call emergency services. Do not try to be a hero. If an electrical system begins sparking or a fire ignites at a wire, appliance, or outlet, then cutting the power to the system is the first, best step to take. References Lexipol. Power Tip: Ideally, you want to use a Class C fire extinguisher specially formulated for putting out electrical fires. Do not use flammable items to smother an electrical fire, such as a blanket. 1. An electrical fire can be caused in three different ways, and the first is arcing. In fact, one-third of all home structure fires stem from an electrical source, and because they tend to be difficult to identify, they are usually much more dangerous and destructive than other types of fires. Never use water to put out an electrical fire. Copyright © 2020 FireRescue1. S - SQUEEZE the handle of the fire extinguisher slowly. Do not use devices that show signs of fraying or wear.Â. A window that is many stories above the ground would not be a great escape route, while a first-floor window would. For instance, if there is a short in your toaster, it can produce enough heat to start a fire. In this case, 87% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. Which is best to put out an electrical fire––oxygen or carbon dioxide? Do not leave them on overnight or place them next to combustible materials. Most residential fire extinguishers are multi-purpose and labeled ABC, but it is crucial to verify this before using it on an electrical fire.Â, Electrical fires result in almost 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries annually. Baking Soda for a Small Electrical Fire If a small and contained fire breaks out – for example, if an extension cord begins to smolder -- you could successfully douse it with baking soda. 2. But not just any fire extinguisher: it must be rated B or K for grease fires and C for electrical … But if you ever do make sure you know how to put it out. Cut off the electricity. If you want to learn how to use a fire blanket to smother the fire, keep reading the article! Very small electrical fires can be smothered with baking soda. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. wikiHow's. Fire blankets stifle the oxygen a fire needs to burn, putting it out entirely if it’s small enough. FEMA defines an electrical fire as one caused by heat from electrical transformers, meter boxes, outlets, cords, light bulbs and anything else that conducts electricity. In general, firefighters will be better equipped to fight a fire that has live electricity in the mix than you will be. How to put out a grease fire Common causes of electrical fires When working with members of your community on fire and life safety, it is important to teach the common causes of electrical … This will help keep the fire as contained as possible. Plus, an electrical fire in the home is often a more immediate danger than a wildfire and may lead to panic. Use Baking Soda for Small Electrical Fires. Trying to put out These fires start most often in bedrooms and attics, and the most common ignitable material that starts the fire is the wire insulation itself, although framing members, wall insulati… You can do this by putting clothing or a heavy blanket on it if it’s safe. Most home fire extinguishers are class ABC and are effective at putting out electrical fires. Literally, flames were coming out of either side of it. Check out these top products and tips that will help you during a fire emergency. Knowing how to put out an electrical fire effectively, including when to call in firefighters to do the job, could save not just your life, but also the life of your friends or family. In the case of a fire occurring in an electrical panel, do not try putting it out with water. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Contact an electrician if you smell anything burning or see smoke coming from an appliance, cord or the plug, or if you see an outlet that is discolored. This article has been viewed 87,224 times. Water should not be used to exterminate these fires. She can be reached via email. Copyright © 2020 To put out an electrical fire, unplug the appliance or shut off the power to disconnect the electricity. Can I put out an electrical fire with a garden hose after shutting off the power? Water conducts electricity, so in the event that you throw water onto the flames, you are in danger of being severely burned. The first thing to remember is that you need to stay calm. This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Sometimes, when it … I was made, "It's an awesome site that helps you know how to do whatever you want.". How to put out an electrical panel fire There are several classes of fires, and electrical fires fall under the Class C category. Do not overload the outlets. A - AIM the hose and nozzle of the extinguisher at the fire. Cut off the electricity. Enter “https://www.firerescue1.com/” and click OK. GET OUT. If an electrical fire starts 1. Escape routes typically include doors and windows that you can easily pass through to the outside. If, at any time, the flames seem like they pose an immediate threat or are too unwieldy to handle on your own, take your family and leave the premise before dialing 9-1-1. Add sodium bicarbonate. If the fire is small, you may put it out by smothering it with baking soda. What else could you use besides a fire extinguisher or blanket? In addition to her regular editing duties, Engel seeks to tell the heroic, human stories of first responders and the importance of their work. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. The water can pick up the fuel and move it to another area where it can then ignite and spread the fire. That's right: baking soda, just like the kind you use in the kitchen. Install child precautions when they are present to prevent accidental electrocution. Remove the oxygen source. DO NOT use water to put an electrical fire out! So what do you do? Inspect electrical devices periodically to determine if there is wear or fraying of the wires. You and any family members need to leave as soon as you can to prevent injury or loss of life. If you want to learn how to use a fire blanket to smother the fire, keep reading the article! Close the door as you leave to contain the fire. She earned her bachelor's degree in communications from Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and began her career as a freelance writer, focusing on government and military issues. If you have an appliance fire where the appliance can't be unplugged, go turn off the power at the breaker box. By using our site, you agree to our. Electrical fires can pose a huge danger, but proper precautions and safe, appropriate reactions to combat the fire can help to minimize the risk of injury or death. Electrical fires are a Class C fire, which means that you will need an extinguisher that is appropriate for this type of fire. "I didn't know electrical fires need to be put out with an extinguisher that has fire specific contents. If the device that is causing the electrical fire is found, and you can reach the cord and outlet safely, unplug it.Â. My hair dryer caught on fire in my hand yesterday. As soon as you identify where the electrical fire is happening, look for a way to shut off the electrical power in that section. Use Baking Soda for Small Electrical Fires. Last Updated: April 11, 2020 wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. A fire blanket is a great option if you don’t have a fire extinguisher. If you need further help setting your homepage, check your browser’s Help menu, Join FirstConnect to see available grants & support, A community guide for preventing and extinguishing electrical fires, Winter typically means spending more time indoors and using more electricity – to heat our homes, power devices that keep us entertained and light up our houses indoors and out during the holidays.Â, But electricity is a hidden danger to the residents in your community. Arcing caused by power surges and frayed wire insulation that allows contact between flammable materials and electrical! As possible clothing or a heavy blanket on it if it ’ small... Ca n't be unplugged, go turn off the oxygen source is another option to turn off the power,. Conductor of electricity and if you use water to put it out and frayed wire insulation that allows contact flammable! Be a great option if you want. `` them off if they tip over immediately, the. 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Know electrical fires can be smothered with baking soda over the fire department wear.Â! And trusted online destination for fire service professionals worldwide over the fire needs make.