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What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Electrical Fires?

In this article, we will be considering “What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Electrical Fires“?. This question will be be answered in the next paragraph.

What Kind of Fire Extinguisher is Best for Electrical Fires?

The ideal way to fight an electrical fire is with a Class C extinguisher. This type of extinguisher is also known as a “C” or “BC” extinguisher. A Class C extinguisher is designed to fight fires that involve live electrical equipment. This includes wiring and circuit breakers as well as electrical appliances.

A class C extinguisher typically contains a non-conductor agent (e.g. CO2 or dry chemical powder) that effectively smothers the flames and stops the chemical reaction in a fire that involves electrical equipment.

Common Types of Class C Fire Extinguishers

CO2 Fire Extinguisher: A Carbon Dioxide (CO2) extinguisher is filled with carbon dioxide gas that is not flammable under high pressure. CO2 extinguishers can be identified by their hard horn and absence of a pressure gauge. When using a CO2 fire extinguisher, the cylinder pressure is so high that pieces of dry ice can come out of the horn.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers work by reducing the amount of oxygen present in the fire triangle, or by removing the oxygen element. CO2 is also extremely cold as it exits the extinguisher. This cools down the fuel.

READ: 6 Major Types Of Fire Extinguishers And Their Purposes

CO2 extinguishers are ideal for electrical fires because they do not leave any residue behind, and they won’t damage sensitive electrical equipment.

CO2 may not be effective in extinguishing a Class A fire because it may not remove enough oxygen to effectively put out the fire. Also, Class A materials can smolder and burn again. CO2 will often be found in labs, in mechanical rooms, in kitchens, and in flammable fluid storage areas. All CO2 extinguisher at USC are hydrostatic tested and recharged every five years.

Dry Chemical Powder: A Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher is the most common type used. A dry chemical extinguisher can also be used to put out a Class C fire. A dry chemical extinguisher contains a dry powder (generally sodium carbonate or potassium carbonate) that extinguishes an electrical fire by disrupting the chemical reactions. However, the use of a dry chemical extinguisher leaves a residue that can be damaging to electronic equipment. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the potential for collateral damage.

Safety Guidelines to Follow When Dealing With Electrical Fires

  1. Turn Off the Power: If it’s safe to do so, try to turn off the electrical power source that’s feeding the fire. Cutting off the electricity can help prevent the fire from spreading.
  2. Use the Fire Extinguisher Properly: Aim the extinguisher at the base of the flames and sweep from side to side until the fire is out. Do not aim directly at electrical outlets or equipment, as it may spread the fire or cause electrical shock.
  3. Evacuate if Necessary: If the fire cannot be controlled or if it continues to spread, prioritize safety and evacuate the area. Call the fire department immediately.
  4. Have an Evacuation Plan: It’s always a good idea to have a fire evacuation plan in place and ensure that all occupants in the building are familiar with it.
  5. Regular Maintenance: Periodically inspect and maintain your fire extinguishers to ensure they are in good working condition.

When dealing with fires, always remember safety first. If you don’t know how to use your fire extinguisher, or if you can’t put out the fire, leave the area and call emergency.

In conclusion, the best way to fight an electrical fire is with a Class C fire extinguisher like your CO2 fire extinguisher. Class C fire extinguishers are specifically designed for live electrical equipment fires. These fire extinguishers usually contain non-conductor substances such as CO2 or dry chemical powder.

READ: Fire Extinguisher Inspection Checklist + 2 PDF Samples

CO2 fire extinguishers extinguish the fire by removing oxygen from the flame, leaving no ash. Dry chemical fire extinguishers break up the chemical fire reaction. When fighting an electrical fire, it is important to turn off the power if it is safe to do so, aim the extinguisher at the bottom of the flames and evacuate the building if the fire becomes out of control.

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