As an electrical engineer I know exactly that electricity is a real hidden enemy. In fact I work with safety first culture, However I can’t count how many times I got electrocution while working. Besides the electrocution safety protection, electrical fire protection is one of the most important issues.
Electrical fire protection is the process of protecting apartments, buildings, and workplace environments from electrical fires. The main reasons behind this type of fire are due to faulty electrical products or misusing of electrical appliances.In this article, we will discuss different reasons for electrical fires, and the method of protection of workplaces from electrical fires.
WHAT IS THE MAIN CAUSE OF ELECTRICAL FIRES?
The most common causes of electrical fires are, Using faulty appliances or misuse of electrical devices. Similarly, kitchen appliances like kettles, toasters, irons, curling wands, and other “hot” devices draw a lot of amperes. And may cause fires if used for a long time.
Overloading of electrical circuits can also cause fires. Failure of protective devices like circuit breakers and fuse are also common causes of electrical fires.
For more information about electrical hazards read our other articles,
- Common Electrical hazards
- How to avoid Electrical hazard at work
- How to avoid Electrical hazard at home?
- FAULTY APPLIANCES
Using faulty appliances is a common source of fire, These faulty appliances are a potential source of electrical short circuit which can easily start a fire if the circuit breaker fail to trip and isolate the appliance.
Faulty cords are also an other shape of fire causes, just like appliance, cords can start fire if the insulation around the cord is damaged.
- UNSAFE HEAT APPLIANCES
I have seen many electrical fire accidents in the organization I work for, The reason was using bad quality unsafe kettles. Safety power off when the kettle boils water is a safety feature which must be included in the kettle and must be working.
Appliances which convert electrical power into heat like kettles and heaters, Can start fire due to safety features lack. A bad kettle without the power off when water boils is a serious hazard, Never use it, Maintain it or replace it.
- SPACE HEATERS
Space heaters have two potential hazards which can start electrical fire.
- Putting the space heater near combustible material.
- If it has no power off in case of falling while it is working.
To use it safely, ensure that it is a good quality product, put it away 3 feet from any combustible material, and unplug it in case of not using
HOW TO ENSURE PROTECTION AGAINST ELECTRICAL FIRE?
Different methods are common in our daily life to ensure Electrical fire protection in apartments, organizations, and workplaces. Following these instructions can reduce the risk by 80%. So here we go.
- Detach Appliances if not in Use
If you are using any device and especially if a heating device is plugged in. It draws a lot of amperes. So when these devices are not in use, detach the cable from the electric source. Because this device heats up and the chances of catching fire are more.
- Avoid Overloading
Overloading is another source of an electrical fire. So to ensure protection always avoid overloading of electrical circuits. Sometimes more than one or multiple items are operational using a single extension. Please note that the extension cord is a temporary solution. And avoid it if you need to use it permanently.
- Keep an eye on protective devices
Regularly check on protective devices like circuit breakers and fuses as well as plugs, sockets, and cables. If any flicking occurs, you. Revisit the system.
- User guide
Before you use any electrical device. Make sure that you have read the user manual. Always check power rating, frequency, and voltage. If you check any sign of hazard. Remove the device.
- Standards to maintain
Before you buy any electrical device, make sure it passes the standard. Always involve certified mechanic and electrician for repairs and new electrical installation.
WHAT IS THE BEST FIRE EXTINGUISHER FOR AN ELECTRICAL FIRE?
We discussed some basic tips to avoid and eliminate the risks of electrical fires. However, you must be ready for any scenario. Therefore it is important to discuss different fire safety devices that can ensure electrical fire protection.
HOW DO YOU PUT OUT AN ELECTRICAL FIRE?
If you see any electrical fire, the first step is to pull out the electric cable or turn off the power switch off all circuit breakers. Use Co2 fire extinguisher. As it is the best fire extinguisher for an electrical fire.
DO not use use water-based or foam-based fire extinguishers to put out an electrical fire. If you do so it may cause electrocution.
For large organizations an automatic fire suppression is the best choice. For more information about fire suppression we highly recommend our article Fire suppression systems, Types and Uses
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF AN ELECTRICAL FIRE?
Some signs can tell you that the risk of fire is close and you need to take care. Below are some common signs of electrical fire.
- The burn starts with plastic insulation. Any smell of burning plastics then switch off all circuit breakers and search for the source of the fire. Before switching on power call for an authorized electrician to check all appliances, circuit breakers and wiring.
- A circuit breaker keeps tripping, This is a strong sign of a damage of an appliance or wiring. Turn off this circuit breaker and call authorized electrician for help. In this case if the breaker is not faulty then there is a short circuit.
- Smoke colored outlet is an other sign of possible fire.