Here’s How to Put Out an Electrical Fire in Your Home
Electrical fires are a serious threat to the safety of both your home and your family. They can often start without you noticing due to shorts and faults in wiring hidden behind walls. While there are signs to watch for and maintenance that can help prevent electrical fires, every homeowner should know what to do when faced with one.
As with any other fire in your home, the best thing to do is call 911 right away. Fire can spread quickly, and while you certainly hope to get the fire under control yourself, you shouldn’t take the risk that you might not. Make sure to let the operator know that it’s an electrical fire so they can fully understand the problem.
If the fire is already out of control and you’re at immediate risk of being injured or trapped in your home, you should exit your home immediately. While you might think that staying and trying to put out the electrical fire would be worth the risk, it isn’t. You should only try to put out electrical fires if they’re still small and contained.
The Steps to Putting Out an Electrical Fire
The unique threat of electrical fires is that there is almost surely still live electricity present. While wiring can melt its sheathing and light a fire, the wires themselves can continue to conduct electricity. The first thing you’re going to have to do is turn off the electricity.
If an appliance of some kind has caused the electrical fire, you can unplug it from the socket. If that isn’t possible due to the fire, or if there’s a different source, you’re going to have to shut off the power at your electrical panel.
If you’re familiar with electrical troubleshooting, you might be able to identify which specific circuit to turn off, but otherwise, you can flip the main breaker switch and disconnect power to the entire home. Keep in mind that this will shut the lights off, too, so you might need a flashlight to continue trying to put out the fire.
The Right Method for Extinguishing an Electrical Fire
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t throw water onto an electrical fire with the electricity still running. You could be very badly shocked, which is incredibly dangerous considering that you’re currently dealing with a fire as well.
Ideally, you’ll have a fire extinguisher in your home. Electrical fires are labeled as class C fires, so you need a fire extinguisher rated for that type of fire.
Most household fire extinguishers will be, and they should be clearly labeled. They are often rated for more than one type, so you might see multiple letters, which is fine as long as C is one of them.
To use the fire extinguisher, you simply pull the pin, aim at the fire, squeeze the handle, and sweep back and forth across the fire until the fire extinguisher is empty.
Keep in mind that you should still call the fire department even if the fire looks like it’s out because your efforts might not fully extinguish it. You’re also going to need to call a professional electrician to get to the bottom of the electrical issues behind the fire.
Preventing Electrical Fires in Your Home
The best way to manage electrical fires is to prevent them in the first place. You should keep an eye out for signs that something is wrong with your home’s electrical system and reach out to a professional electrician for electrical troubleshooting as soon as something seems off. In particular, you should watch out for:
- Unexplained burning smells in your home
- Frequently tripping circuit breakers
- Scorch marks on your outlets or switches
- Sparks when you plug something into an outlet
- Noticeable warmth coming from the electrical panel
These are all causes for concern and could eventually lead to an electrical fire in your home. The team of professional electricians here at MZ Electric can quickly get to the bottom of any of these problems and give you a reliable quote on the necessary repairs or replacements.
General fire safety is another key thing to keep in mind. MZ Electric can ensure that your house has reliable smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to keep your home safe from both fires and dangerous carbon monoxide from any gas appliances or heating.
Professional Electricians in Littleton, CO
MZ Electric provides reliable electrical solutions here in Littleton and all over the Denver Metro Area. For over a decade, we’ve been doing so and have the knowledge, tools, and experience to deliver the best possible service.
We’re fully committed to ensuring that your home’s electrical system is dependable and safe so that you can have one less thing to worry about.
If you’ve had an electrical fire and need repairs, we can help. Our team can also troubleshoot any electrical issues you have to help prevent potential electrical fires and keep your home safe. Reach out to MZ Electric today for an appointment with our skilled electricians.