Now that winter’s almost here, most of us will be spending more time indoors and relying on electricity to provide heat, power, and entertainment during the cold winter months. In light of this fact (no pun intended), we’ve put together a quick guide on what to do if an electric fire breaks out in your home.
Disconnect the Electricity
First, disconnect the electricity to eliminate the source of the flames. If the fire is caused by a faulty appliance, unplug it as quickly as it possible (provided it is safe to do so.) If you are unable to unplug an appliance, go to your electric panel and turn off the power. Once you have killed the electricity, you will no longer be at risk of electrocution, and the source of the fire will be cut off.
Call 911 First and Foremost
If, for some reason, you are not able to disconnect the electricity, call 911 to ensure you will have some backup on its way if you cannot put out the fire yourself. Be sure to tell the dispatcher that it’s an electrical fire. Remember, it’s better to be safe and a tad embarrassed than sorry.
Ensure You Can Evacuate Safety
Before continuing, make sure you can see two clear pathways to safety. Once one of those two pathways becomes blocked or unsafe to approach, evacuate immediately. Electric fires can quickly become deadly, and no home is worth risking your life.
Smother the Fire with Baking Soda, NOT FLOUR
Baking soda contains the chemical compound sodium bicarbonate, which is also in Class C fire extinguishers. If the fire began in an appliance or an overloaded cord, unplug it and toss baking soda onto the flames. DO NOT USE FLOUR. Flour is combustible and can cause an explosion. You can also put out the fire by smothering it with a blanket or towel.
Never Use Water While the Power Is On
Although it may be your first impulse, never use water on any size electrical fire if your power is still on. Water conducts electricity, so if you toss water onto the flames, you are at risk of being badly shocked. Water may also conduct electricity throughout the room, potentially igniting flammable materials and causing the fire to spread.
If you are 100% certain that the power is off, water is now an option, and you can douse the flames with a bucket or the spray nozzle from your sink.
Prevent Electric Fires: Get an Electrical Inspection in Holly Springs NC
While it’s always good to have a working knowledge of best practices should a fire occur, the best way to prevent them from happening is to schedule a yearly safety inspection with a licensed electrician. Our Holly Springs electricians can make any necessary repairs and upgrades, and make sure that every wire, outlet, and switch is working as it should. If you’d like to request an electrical inspection with Alternate Current Solutions, fill out our contact form today!