HANDLING ELECTRICAL FIRES

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Electrical fires are examples of accidents that can lead to considerable losses in lives and properties. Despite government regulations and sensitization, there have been yearly occurrences of fire incidents caused by electrical bodies in London. Whenever you notice sparks from electrical fixtures or you harbor suspicion about an electrical fault, it is safer to contact an emergency electrician. As a London resident, the losses which may occur are likely higher than what an emergency electrician costs in London. The causes of electrical fires are variated: overload of appliances, faulty or old wiring or fixtures, short circuits, etc. Usually, you can apply ‘first aid’  to the situation before calling in the experts. It could be a useful way to lessen damages.  

The following tips could prove useful in handling electrical fires:

  1. Request Expert Assistance

In the case of an electrical fire, try turning off the electricity. This should not be the only resort, however. Calling in firefighters should also be a priority, especially when turning off the electricity and dousing the flames didn’t work. The firefighters are better prepared and equipped to handle emergencies, especially those involving electric currents on the loose. Make sure you explain your suspicions or the cause of the fires. You don’t want them getting prepared to treat a gas leak when it is an electrical fire. Once again, it is better not to convince yourself that you have the fire under control without confirmation from emergency services. Call them.

  • Have a Solid Escape Plan

Your evacuation plans are crucial to your safety. Be certain of your escape routes should things go out of hand. To this end, more than a single escape pathway should be contemplated. If there are less than two escape routes, it is advisable to abandon any attempt to handle the fire yourself and rather wait for the fire department.  The fire may spread fast or cause obstructions in your path. When one door literally closes, make sure another opens. This is to avoid getting stuck with the flames. An increase in smoke, decreasing chances of escape and unsuccessful attempts to treat the fire are signs that you need to pack up. Your welfare should be of utmost priority. So do well to mark windows or doors that can serve as exit points to safety.

  •  Disconnecting The Appliance

An excellent way to begin fighting the fire is by unplugging the appliance caught on fire. Ensure it is safe to do so, bearing in mind the risks of shock and burns which may emanate from an exposed wiring or a compromised outlet. Successfully unplugging such appliances is an advantage as it reduces the risks of further spread of damage. Where the appliance is connected to an outlet that is unreachable, try killing the power from the electrical panel or breaker box responsible for that electrical unit. Turning off the electricity is important because heat can be generated with a continuous flow of electricity which in no way helps put out the fire. When the electricity is not put off also increases the chances of being shocked. One has to exhaust all the options available in putting off the electricity before engaging in putting out the fire.

Some persons make the mistake of trying to put out an electrical fire with water. Fighting an electrical fire is not the same as tackling a conventional fire such as one caused by a burning sofa. There, water might prove more useful. If it has proven impossible to turn off the electricity, do not focus water on the fire. Water is a conductor of electricity — this means that you risk being electrocuted. It’s like fighting a war on two fronts as you’re fighting both a fire and an electrocution hazard. The same principle applies whenever you are fighting a fire of an unknown origin. It is better not to apply water until clearer facts emerge.

Another thing to avoid using in dousing the flames is any flammable material, such as clothing or the likes. They are likely to be ignited.

An alternative to water is baking soda. It is a better option for handling electrical fires when the appliance cannot be disconnected. Fires need oxygen for further combustion or burning. By putting baking soda around the area, it creates a mass that stops the flow of oxygen to the flames.

  • Using a Fire Extinguisher

The P.A.S.S. technique is a recommended method of using the fire extinguisher. The acronym represents the initials of pull, aim, squeeze and sweep respectively. You start by pulling the pin on the handle, aiming the nozzle of the fire extinguisher at the target, squeezing the handle and then sweeping the area affected by the fire to ensure proper dispersal of the extinguishing compound. The P.A.S.S. technique was coined for easy remembrance so that prompt response to fire emergencies could be achieved. 

Also, note that the type of fire extinguisher to be used can make or mar your efforts in fighting an electrical fire. Class C fire extinguishers are the appropriate type to fight electrical fire emergencies. This is because an electrical fire is in the Class C category of fires. You can also use a fire extinguisher labeled ABC. ABC fire extinguishers can handle different fire incidents of which electrical fires are inclusive. Knowing the type of fire extinguisher is crucial. Some may contain chemicals that can conduct electricity thereby leading to a hazard.

Handling fire when the power is out

If you succeed in turning the power off, it gives you a lot of leverage in fighting the fire. For example, there is a lesser chance of electric shock or the fire re-igniting from the continuous electricity supply

Also, the type of fire extinguisher that can be used is of little consequence now since you stand no risk of electrocution. The same thing applies to use textile materials such as a fire blanket. It is less likely to catch fire. Use such to cover the fire, acting as a barrier between oxygen and the fire. Blankets are more effective for fighting small fires. Do not attempt to handle a big fire all by yourself. Call in the fire service.

Similarly, water can now be used to douse the flames and the surrounding areas likely to be affected. This is because there is little or no chance of electrocution.

Conclusively, electrical fires are threats to the welfare of the individual. It is advisable to change faulty appliances and fixtures as well as exercise the use of caution in handling electricity. Reach out to Electric Works London today if you require the help of a certified electrician in your home or offices.

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