Electricity is the cause of around 20,000 accidental fires in UK homes each year. These fires result in around 46 deaths, over 2,000 injuries and, roughly £100 million in damage. The main appliances which cause electrical fires in homes are:
- Cookers and microwaves
- Laundry appliances
- Electrical lighting
- Portable heaters
How to Put Out an Electrical Fire?First, attempt to cut off the electricity supply. If you can, unplug the appliance at the socket. But, if the plug is unreachable then turn off the electricity to your entire house. To do this, go to the main electrical panel (make sure you know where this is) and flip the main circuit breakers off (these are usually found at the top in a pair). Once you are happy the electricity is off, you can attempt to tackle the fire. Now, there are several ways you can put out an electrical fire. One of the easiest methods is to use a suitable fire extinguisher. The two types you can use are:
- Co2 (Black)
- Powder (Blue)
- Pull the pin which breaks the tamper seal.
- Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. Do not touch the horn on a Co2 extinguisher as this can get cold and damage the skin.
- Squeeze the handle to release the extinguishing agent.
- Sweep from side to side until the fire is out.
What to Do In the Event of an Electrical Fire?If you do happen to come across an electrical fire in your home, it’s important to protect yourself and others first. If the fire is raging out of control, then evacuate immediately. Once outside, call 999 and ask for the fire brigade. Then, warn surrounding neighbours in case the fire spreads. Whatever you do, do not go back inside to collect belongings. You could become trapped, seriously injured or worse. However, if the fire is small and you feel you can handle it yourself, then there are several ways to extinguish it.
Other Ways to Extinguish an Electrical FireIf you have no fire extinguisher then you can also use a fire blanket as follows:
- Pull the tabs to release it.
- Hold the blanket with the tabs facing you. Don’t hold it too high so you cannot see, or, too low that you could trip.
- In a quick, swift motion, place the blanket over the top of the fire (don’t throw it as you could miss).
- Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.