Learn the top causes of electrical fires and ways to avoid them from happening.
Published 26 Jul 2023
An electrical fire is a fire that stems from electrical sources or systems. It occurs due to ignitions coming from overheating, malfunctioning, or damaged electrical components, equipment, or wiring. This fire can compromise the safety of residential, commercial, and industrial settings because of its potential to spread rapidly and cause extensive damage to lives and properties.
In the United States, electrical fires have resulted in approximately 295 deaths and 900 injuries in residential settings. Property losses due to these fires also amounted to an estimated $1.2 billion for homes and $501 million for non-residential structures.
In addition, this electrical hazard accounted for around 25-30% of fires in the European Union, costing over 1,200 deaths and €10 billion in property damage.
Electrical fires can be catastrophic, causing significant damage and threatening individual lives and properties. Understanding the factors that contribute to these fires is vital in implementing effective preventive measures.
So, what causes electrical fires in the first place? Explore each of these potential causes below:
Electrical fires pose serious hazards, but their impacts can be minimized if you understand their telltale signs. This knowledge allows you to respond swiftly and keep everyone safe in the event of a fire.
It’s important to stay vigilant and take immediate action if you notice any of the following signs:
Given their distinct nature compared to other types of fires, electrical fires require a specialized approach to ensure personal safety and effective fire suppression. Training is essential to carry this out effectively, but in case of an emergency, here’s how to stop an electrical fire:
Ultimately, prevention is key to being safe from the devastating impacts of electrical fires. Here are 5 effective ways to prevent these fires before they start:
Regular electrical maintenance is crucial to identify and address potential fire hazards. Start with routine inspections to check for faulty outlets, frayed wires, or outdated electrical systems. Make sure to have these maintenance checks done by a qualified electrician.
Aside from this, it’s also important to:
Eliminate manual tasks and streamline your operations.
Practicing safe electrical habits considerably reduces the risk of fires. Keep in mind the following guidelines when carrying out electrical work:
Planning is vital for a swift and organized response to electrical fires. Before anything happens, it’s best to prepare evacuation protocols and fire safety plans that everyone must follow in case of emergencies. These plans should:
Smoke alarms help detect fires early to give you and other occupants enough time to evacuate. Make sure to have them installed on every level of the property for maximum protection. And to ensure optimal performance, test these alarms monthly and replace their batteries at least once a year.
In order to put out electrical fires, the proper fire safety equipment is essential. Start by learning about the different classes of fire extinguishers and their intended uses. Then, check which type fits the needs and risks of your property or workplace.
For example, if your workplace requires heavy amounts of electrical work, it’s best to invest in a fire extinguisher that’s designed specifically for electrical fires. The class can vary depending on your jurisdiction, as follows: Class C (US), Electrical (UK), and Class E (EU).
Once you’ve selected the appropriate fire extinguishers, place them in locations that people can easily access in emergencies. It’s also important to train employees and occupants on how to operate these extinguishers effectively.
Preparedness and prevention are critical when it comes to fire safety. It especially rings true for electrical fires, which expose people not only to fire risks but also to electrical hazards. These aspects would typically entail a lot of paperwork for compliance and communications, but this can be simplified with digital tools like SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor).
SafetyCulture, the world’s leading operations platform, integrates safety into all aspects of your business operations. It allows you to implement safety measures across the entire organization through its comprehensive suite of digital solutions.
With SafetyCulture, you can accomplish the following and more:
Leizel Estrellas is a content writer and researcher for SafetyCulture. Her academic and professional training as a researcher allows her to write meaningful articles that create a lasting impact. As a content specialist, she strives to promote a culture of safety in the workplace through accessible and reader-friendly content. With her high-quality work, she is keen on helping businesses across industries identify issues and opportunities to improve every day.
What are the Goals of Ergonomics Training? Ergonomics is defined as the study of how humans at work ...
Benefits Big or small, businesses across industries are exposed to a myriad of risks. If unmitigated...
Why It’s Important to Maintain TCS Food Safety An estimated 1.3 billion tons of edible food is ...