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What Should You Use to Extinguish Electrical Fires?

Electrical fires are some of the most frequently encountered fire hazards in commercial properties. In order to extinguish electrical fires according to current regulations, business owners should know which fire extinguishers they need on their premises and learn how to use them properly.

Knowing which fire extinguisher to use on electrical fires is essential for protecting the safety of your employees and property in Orange County or anywhere else in Southern California. As a business owner, you should also be familiar with the main five types of fire and know which fire extinguishers are the most effective for each class. Additionally, you should also know when using a fire extinguisher is not a good idea.

If you want to learn more about extinguishing electrical fires, please read on.

Can you use a fire extinguisher on electrical fire?Which fire extinguisher is suitable for all fires?

Fires caused by electrical components belong to Class C fires. These fires differ from other types of fire, and, as a result, have to be tackled using different methods. Extinguishing electrical fires with liquids is not only ineffective, but it may also make the fire exponentially worse in a very short amount of time.

In order to prevent this from happening, business owners should be aware of the proper ways to extinguish a Class C fire in their commercial property. Here are some of the available Class C fire extinguishers:

  • Carbon dioxide extinguishers eliminate oxygen to smother the fire and suppress the heat by producing cold discharge. CO2 extinguishers do have some limitations – they may create oxygen if used in confined areas, and may be less effective in windy conditions.
  • Dry chemical extinguishers introduce chemicals (typically potassium bicarbonate, potassium chloride, or monoammonium phosphate) to separate fire elements and prevent them from interacting.
  • Halon extinguishers use compressed, liquified gas to chemically disrupt combustion and stop the fire from spreading. Halon leaves no residues, discharging only vapor that doesn’t cause static or cold shock. However, Halon extinguishers are quite expensive and may release toxic gases in extremely hot fires.

How do you extinguish an electrical fire with a fire extinguisher?

A Class C fire may become a Class A fire if the power is cut off. This should be your first step if possible. If not, call 911 immediately and let them know that there’s an electrical fire in your commercial facility. Before trying to extinguish the fire yourself, look for clear pathways, preferably two, that you could use to run to safety.

In addition to calling the fire department and switching off the power, here are the main steps to dealing with a Class C fire:

  • Use sodium bicarbonate for small fires: in case that the fire was caused by an overloaded cord or an appliance, you can try sprinkling some baking soda over the flames. This may prove effective as baking soda contains sodium bicarbonate, a chemical compound that is used for extinguishing Class C fires.
  • Use a carbon dioxide or dry chemical fire extinguisher: in the case of a large fire, using a CO2 extinguisher or dry powder extinguisher is a must. These types of extinguishers are effective against electrical fires, but won’t damage the electrical components and leaves no residue.

Which fire extinguisher is suitable for all fires?

Special fire extinguishers have been developed for each type of fire. While some fire extinguisher types, such as dry chemical extinguishers, can be used for multiple classes of fire, others are suitable for just one class.

One of the most recent advances of extinguisher technology is the water mist fire extinguisher. By discharging deionized water in spray form, this extinguisher forms a mist curtain made from fine water droplets that are non-toxic and non-conductive. Mist fire extinguishers have proven effective in tackling multiple fire types, including Class A and Class C fires.

Can you use a fire extinguisher on electrical fire?Your go-to fire extinguisher provider in Orange County

At Red Truck Fire & Safety, we carry fire extinguishers of all makes and models for commercial and industrial purposes. We serve business owners across Southern California, offering fire extinguisher services that allow them to comply with OSHA regulations on fire protection.

No matter where in Southern California your business is located, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for more information. Give us a call today!

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