Electrical Fire - Staying Alive
When your building’s fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers are being inspected, you can’t afford to overlook the electrical systems. Every business depends on electricity – whether it’s a hotel, a retail store, or a web design company. That’s why it’s so important to know how to keep all of your employees and visitors safe during an electrical fire.
During a fire safety inspection of your entire building, walk through with a professional inspector. This may be your insurance representative or your local electrician. These inspectors are trained professionals who can help locate and diagnose potential problems, such as electrical fire hazards. Here are some of the issues you will likely find during this inspection:
Smoke on electrical outlets, light switches, and sockets;
Lights that always flicker;
Fuses and breakers that constantly stop working or overload;
Worn out electrical cables;
And damaged outlets near areas that tend to contain more water, such as kitchens and restrooms.
Along with the inspector, you may want to contact a professional electrician to help you find and fix any hazards before they pose a real danger to anyone inside your commercial building.
What to Do
So, what should you do if an electrical fire starts? Most importantly, do not use water to put out an electrical fire. Doing so could expose you or those around you to further harm due to electrocution. Shut off the flow of electricity to the area where the fire is, and to the entire building, if possible.
The next step is to use a fire extinguisher that is classified for class C fires, which is designed to put out electrical fires. This includes ABC Multi-Purpose Fire Extinguishers, Clean Agent Fire Extinguishers, and Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers.
In some situations, the circuit boxes and fire extinguishers might be made inaccessible due to the fire spreading. In these instances, it is best to evacuate the entire building. Once you have ensured that everyone is safely outside and accounted for, call the authorities. Allow the firefighters who respond some time to inspect the building and give the all-clear before reentering. Once it is safe to go back, then you can turn the building’s electricity back on.