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What You Need to Know About Electrical Fires

What You Need to Know About Electrical Fires

Most electrical fires can happen in the blink of an eye and quickly burn out of control when appliances and electrical elements are overloaded or malfunctioning. All it takes is a tiny spark that can lead to an inferno. When it comes to dealing with electrical fires in your home or business, prevention is critical. It’s wise to know how electrical systems work and what to do in the event of a fire emergency.

Five Common Causes of Electrical Fires

The first step in preventing electrical fires is knowing why they are happening and noticing any warning signs of electrical failure. We have compiled a list of five reasons why they occur.

  1. Overloaded electrical outlets or circuits. Electrical fires often start when electrical outlets and circuits are overloaded with too many electrical devices that require a high current from the electrical system, leading to severe electrical shock.
  2. Poor wiring. Faulty wiring can cause fires due to short-circuiting when electricity jumps between electrical circuits and creates intense heat.
  3. Defective electrical outlets and cords. Broken, frayed, cracked, or severely worn electrical outlets or extension cords worn are at risk for fires.
  4. Flammable materials in contact with electrical materials. Flammable materials such as furniture, carpets, curtains, and other items should never be placed too close to electronic devices, as fires can start from sparks caused by the equipment’s heat.
  5. Using aged and outdated appliances. Appliances that are too old, have electrical components that are no longer in good condition, or have not been adequately maintained can be a significant risk factor. This can include computers, televisions, air conditioners, and portable space heaters. 

An electrical fire is a stressful event that can affect your residential or commercial property without notice. However, knowing the common causes can help prevent them in the future.

How to Extinguish an Electrical Fire

Knowing how to respond if you ever witness an electrical fire is essential. 

  • Immediately unplug the electrical device. Unplug the electrical device you suspect is causing the electrical fire if it’s safe to do so. You can also turn off your property’s circuit breaker. This will stop the electrical current from flowing, making it easier to extinguish the fire.
  • Use a Class C fire extinguisher. Class C fire extinguishers are designed for electrical fires, so you should consider purchasing one for emergency use. Please note that most residential fire extinguishers are multi-purpose and labelled as such (as indicated by the ABC label). Make sure to verify beforehand.
A Class C fire extinguisher can quickly put out an electrical fire. 

  • Contact the fire department. Call your local fire department emergency number immediately if the electrical fire cannot be extinguished with a Class C fire extinguisher.
  • By taking the appropriate measures to prevent electrical fires before they happen or responding fast if one does occur, you can ensure your home or business remains safe from fire damage.

    Tips To Prevent Electrical Fires on Your Property

    Because electrical fires can cause so much property damage, preventing them is ideal. Below are several tips that can help reduce or eliminate electrical fire risks:

    • Have electrical systems regularly inspected by a qualified electrician. Contact a professional to check your electrical wiring and outlets every two or three years.
    • Regularly inspect electrical cords and outlets. Inspect extension cords for any signs of wear, fraying, and cracking. Replace electrical outlets that are outdated or showing signs of wear.
    • Install tamper-resistant electrical receptacles in your home. Tamper-resistant electrical boxes are designed to help prevent electrical fires by automatically shutting off power when they detect excess current flow.
    • Use electrical devices according to manufacturer instructions. Electrical fires may start when using them beyond their intended use or with improper maintenance.
    • Limit the use of electric space heaters. Electrical appliances are one of the leading causes of electrical fire. It’s best to limit their usage and run them at 1/2 power instead of total power for optimal safety.
    • Install a smoke alarm. Having a smoke alarm installed near electrical devices to alert you if a fire occurs.

    These tips can dramatically reduce electrical fire risk and protect your residential or commercial property. 

    Call PuroClean For Your Fire and Smoke Damage Restoration Needs

    If an electrical fire has damaged your home, contact PuroClean as soon as possible. Our team of certified professionals will work quickly to assess the damage and develop a tailored restoration plan to meet your needs. We specialize in smoke remediation and use advanced products and techniques to help restore your home’s air quality and remove any lingering odours. Please visit our website to locate your nearest PuroClean office or call (877) 261-7876 to schedule an appointment.