No matter how careful you are in terms of practicing electrical safety in your home or workshop, electrical fires are still an eventuality that everyone needs to plan for in advance. There are nearly 50,000 electrical fires every year in the United States, and it is a fairly safe statement that most electrical fires occur accidentally. Knowing the causes of most electrical fires can go a long way to preventing them, so here are the most common warning signs of an electrical fire:
Should an electrical device catch fire, you will need to immediately disconnect it from power (if you can safely do so) and use the correct type of fire extinguisher to put out the flames. Here are some tips for how to make sure you keep the right kind of fire extinguisher in your home or workshop for electrical fire emergencies.
Kidde FA110 Multi Purpose Fire Extinguisher 1A10BC
FIAFESA5 - Fire Extinguisher For Gasoline/Oil/Grease/Electrical Fires
Amerex B500, 5lb ABC Dry Chemical Class A B C Fire Extinguisher
Kidde 466180 Pro 5 Carbon Dioxide, Food and Electronic Safe, Environmentally Safe, Fire Extinguisher, UL Rated 5-B:C
First Alert 2.5 Pound Rechargeable Fire Extinguisher
When shopping for the right type of fire extinguisher to use for electrical fires, you may want to familiarize yourself with some basic procedures for putting out an electrical fire safely even if you don’t have a fire extinguisher. Here are the basics you need to know for putting out an electrical fire:
If you have a small contained electrical fire such as a smoldering extension cord or small household appliance, you can often douse the fire by pouring baking soda over it. The sodium bicarbonate in baking soda is the same chemical compound used in fire extinguishers designed to put out electrical fires. Baking soda also creates water, so it can safely cool an electrical fire and cut off its oxygen supply.
Water conducts electricity. If the water you spray or pour on the fire pools and reaches you, it will result in severe electrical shock that may even prove fatal.
Class C or Class C combination fire extinguishers are specifically designed to put out electrical fires around electrical sources like wiring, appliances, outlets, and circuit breakers without exposing the user to risk of electrical shock. After attempting to put out the fire with a class C Extinguisher, you should immediately cut the power at the breaker box or main power breaker in order to prevent the fire from spreading. Call 9-1-1 in case you are unable to contain the fire. Wait outside until the fire department arrives and do not re-enter the building until you are told it is safe to do so.
When selecting a fire extinguisher for your home or workshop, look at the category fires that can be extinguished using that particular model. In particular, you should look for an extinguisher that is rated for Class C fires. Any class C fire extinguisher will use dry powder to put out electrical fires as opposed to just water or foam, both of which can create a shock hazard.
Any fire extinguisher that includes Class A, B and C on the label is an acceptable fire extinguisher for the most common household fires, as it is effective against wood/paper fires, flammable liquids like gasoline or other petroleum based liquids, flammable gases like propane and butane, and of course electrical fires.
Technically, Class C fires are classified as burning flammable gas fires, but these are extinguished using dry powder, and thus are the ideal choice for dousing electrical fires as well.
In order to simplify your fire extinguisher shopping experience, here are several recommended models that are excellent choices for keeping in your home or workshop for emergencies.There will also be a recommended model that I believe is the best overall value out of all fire extinguishers reviewed.
In terms of minimizing storage space and high visibility, the Kidde FA110 is an excellent choice for use in your home or around your garage/workshop. Rated for Class A, B and C fires, this fire extinguisher is lightweight, easy to use and has large operating instruction printed on the side for convenience in an emergency. The FA110 also features a high visibility gauge that displays whether or not it is currently charged for use or in need of recharging.
A rust and corrosion resistant outer shell completes the package, making this a solid choice in terms of reliability and dependability over time.
Need a fire extinguisher to keep on the back porch or close at hand while cooking outdoors? Need an emergency extinguisher for your home workshop? The FIAFESA5 is rated for Class B and C fires, both of which are typical of outdoor grilling or workshop electrical fires. It also makes a handy device to have in your car in the event of an accident where your vehicle or another vehicle catches fire.
The built-in pressure gauge makes charge checks a quick and easy task, and each extinguisher comes with an easy mounting bracket for convenient storage.
An all around winner for emergency use around your home, the Amerex B500 can handle Class A, B and C fires with ease. It’s all-metal controls, valve and easy-to-read gauge make it one of the best built fire extinguishers on the market, and it has the capacity to handle even large contained fires with a total of 14 seconds of discharge time.
This extinguisher is designed for home use with some excellent commercial grade features like all metal controls and valves, a heavy duty aluminum tank, a hose cowling to better direct extinguishing chemicals, and a large easy-to-read charging gauge that lets users verify that it is ready to use at all time. It is also certified non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
It will not contaminate food, valuables, or electronics, helping you preserve your possessions while putting out the flames.
A barebones fire extinguisher for keeping handy around the house, the First Alert 2.5 pound rechargeable is meant for use in your kitchen, in your car, or when cooling out on the grill. This small extinguisher can handle Class A, Class B and Class C fires, and is easy to store in just about any location thanks to the included mounting bracket.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what your available options are as well as what makes for a quality fire extinguisher, I have a recommendation for you as the best value on the list:
If I were shopping for a fire extinguisher to keep in the house in case of electrical fires, my first choice would be the Amerex B500. This model can be used on Class A, Class B and Class C fires safely, and limits or eliminates the likelihood of possible electrical shock while extinguishing an electrical fire. It also has the added advantage of having one of the longest discharge times of any 5-lb. fire extinguishers reviewed, providing excellent value versus its cost. It is als built to last with metal controls, an aluminum valve, and all aluminum tank casing. It may not be the smallest fire extinguisher on the list, but if you need it in an emergency, you want that extra capacity and discharge time. If you are in the market for a good fire extinguisher to keep around your home or workshop for electrical fires or other common fire hazards, check out the Amerex B500. It is a solid value that will serve you well for years to come.