Is an Electrical Fire More Dangerous Than a Normal Fire?
Electrical fires can be extremely dangerous. According to the U.S. Fire Department, there were approximately 24,000 residential building electrical fires between 2014 and 2016 that caused more than $871 million in property loss. In addition to this, they injured 850 people and caused 310 deaths. As seen by these statistics, these fires can be devastating. Some say they can be more disruptive than normal fires. Keep on reading this article to find out what causes electrical fires, how they can be prevented, and how they compare to normal fires.
What Are Electrical Fires?
Electrical fires are Class C fires that are a result of electrical equipment, wiring, or appliances. These are especially dangerous because of how quickly they can spread and because they cannot be put out by water. If one tries to extinguish an electrical fire with water, they can end up getting shocked. Instead, it’s mandatory to use a nonconductive extinguishing agent.
In fact, electrical fires are so dangerous that they’re the second leading cause of fire-related deaths (18%), only behind heat sources being close to flammable items. They also account for the most direct property damage at 20%.
Causes of Electrical Fires
One of the main ways to prevent electrical fires in the first place is by knowing what causes them. It is only then that you can avoid unsafe practices and prevent dangerous incidents.
As warm and convenient as these are, space heaters can be fire hazards if used improperly. In order to ensure safe use, individuals should maintain a distance of three feet between space heaters and both flammable items and liquids. In addition to maintaining this rule, individuals should also ensure that space heaters are kept on a level surface and are monitored at all times.
It should be noted that the most home appliances most often implicated in starting electrical fires are electric ovens and stoves, televisions, radios, dryers, record players, and central heating units.
Individuals often plug appliances into extension cords and power strips instead of plugging them directly into outlets. Extension cords should only serve as a temporary solution and should not be misused. Those who don’t have the proper outlets for their devices should have them installed for their safety.
Homes with old wiring may not have the capacity to handle the load of electricity required. With appliances like computers, televisions, microwaves, ovens, and air conditions being used, circuits can get overloaded and system overload can start electrical fires. Outdated breaker boxes and wiring should always be updated to prevent this emergency.
If you install a bulb with a wattage that’s too high, you’re putting yourself and your family in danger since this can cause electrical fires. The maximum recommended bulb wattage should always be checked so you don’t go over the recommended amount and risk a fire.
Faulty Appliances and Outlets
The majority of electrical fires are caused by outdated appliances and faulty outlets. Whether it is frayed appliance cords, switches, or running cords under rugs, these dangers should be avoided and repairs should be made when you notice damage. Because faulty appliances with frayed cords can result in combustible items catching on fire, it’s best to avoid using them until they’re repaired.
Precautions to Take To Avoid Electrical Fires
As seen by information mentioned above, electrical fires can be extremely harmful. Fortunately, these are preventable and you can take adequate safety measures to save your family and property from fire damage.
- Do not overload sockets and extension cords.
- Keep flammable items away from heaters.
- Don’t use appliances with drayed or damaged cords.
- Regularly check wiring and appliances for damage.
- Make sure that cords and appliances do not come into contact with water.
- When buying electrical appliances, make sure that they meet safety standards. One of the ways to do this is by checking to see if they’re Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL)-listed.
- Keep children away from electrical appliances and wires.
- Have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors for early detection and safe escape.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on hand in case of emergencies.
Signs of an Electrical Fire
If you notice constant burning and can’t find the source, this may be a sign of an electrical fire in your home. Instead of waiting for the fire to make itself more obvious, it’s better to turn of the electrical system and ask an electrician to take a look and ensure that there isn’t a fire or any damage.
Another sign of an electrical fire is if your breakers keep tripping. This happens when your circuit is overloaded and because of ground faults. A tripping breaker is good because it’s preventing fires. However, at some point, it will stop tripping and a fire can break out. That’s why it’s important to inspect them if you notice them tripping constantly.
You should also keep an eye out for discolored outlets and switches. Even the slightest discoloration means that you’ve had an electrical spark that has affected your outlet. To prevent matters from getting worse, ensure that this is checked out swiftly.
Call 911 Restoration of Tampa for Assistance
Sometimes, despite your best efforts at prevention, electrical fires break out. If this happens to you and you’re facing fire damage, contact 911 Restoration of Tampa for comprehensive home restoration services. We have extensive experienced in both fire damage and water damage and can help with any and all restoration needs. Contact us at 813-280-0696 or via this contact form. We’re available 24/7 for emergency fire restoration services and can be at your property within 45 minutes of your call!