Electrical Fire Safety: What to do if an Appliance Catches Fire

Follow These Electrical Fire Safety Tips

Electrical appliances certainly make our lives easier, but they are also potentially dangerous. Do you know what to do if one of your appliances goes up in flames? Follow these simple electrical fire safety guidelines to keep your home safe from unexpected electrical fires.

How to Extinguish an Electrical Fire

If you notice that an appliance has caught fire, it's important not to panic. First, unplug the appliance and call the fire department. Even if you think you can take care of the fire yourself, you want to have the fire department on hand in case the flames get out of control.

You may be tempted to douse the flames with water, but the first rule of electrical fire safety is: Never use water to put out an electrical fire. Dumping water on or near a power source can give you a severe electrical shock, and it might even make the fire worse.

So if water isn't an option, what should you use? For small fires, it's recommended that you pour baking soda directly onto the fire. The baking soda will prevent oxygen flow to the fire and help smother the flames. And unlike water, baking soda does not conduct electricity. Baking soda also contains sodium bicarbonate, which is the same substance used in standard fire extinguishers.

If there is no baking soda available, you may be able to use a heavy blanket to extinguish the fire. This is recommended for small fires only. You want to be sure that the blanket doesn't catch fire while you're putting out the appliance fire.

If you're faced with a larger electrical fire, then you should use a Class C fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Class C rated extinguishers include mono-ammonium phosphate and sodium bicarbonate, neither of which conduct electricity. If you have a working extinguisher on hand, just pull the pin at the top, aim the nozzle at the source of the fire, and squeeze the handle. If the extinguisher does not completely put the fire out, then leave your home immediately and wait for the fire department to arrive.

Electrical Fire Safety Tips

Now that you know how to handle an electrical fire, you should follow these electrical fire safety tips to help prevent your appliances from catching fire.

  1. Do not to plug too many devices into one electrical outlet; the wiring can get overloaded and spark a fire.
  2. Avoid placing refrigerators and freezers in direct sunlight. Doing so can cause the cooling systems to work harder and overheat.
  3. Do not leave large appliances like washing machines, < a href="https://renosappliance.com/products/laundry/dryers.html" target="_blank">dryers, and dishwashers running overnight.
  4. Clean your dryer's lint traps regularly; clogged lint traps are one of the biggest causes of house fires in the United States.
  5. Do not leave paper clothes or other clutter near any outlets.
  6. Check all outlets regularly for excessive heat, burn marks, and buzzing sounds. Have an electrician inspect and repair any damage.
  7. Consider unplugging appliances when not in use.
  8. Consider replacing older appliances with newer, safer, and more efficient models.
  9. Install at least one smoke detector on every floor of your home. Test them regularly to keep them in good working order.
  10. Make sure you have at least one Type C or multi-use extinguisher in your home. Extinguishers should also be checked regularly to make sure they haven't expired.

Electrical fire safety is something everyone should take seriously. Use the tips above to reduce your risk of experiencing an electrical fire.

If you think any of your appliances are due for an upgrade, then stop by Reno's Appliance in Paterson, NJ. We've got every appliance you may possibly need. Any member of our friendly sales staff can help you find the appliances that are best for you and your family.