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Diffusing electrical fires

Electrical fires are one of the most common causes of structure fires. It’s important to be prepared. Follow these tips to prevent an electrical fire in your home, and to diffuse the fire if one breaks out:

  1. Make sure that there aren’t too many appliances plugged into one outlet. This includes chargers, lamps, computers, TVs, toasters, refrigerators, etc. Too many appliances plugged into the same outlet at once can cause a spark.

  2. Be mindful of what you keep near your outlets. Materials like paper, fabric, curtains, and clothes can easily ignite if your outlet sparks.

  3. Keep smaller appliances unplugged when not in use. Don’t leave larger appliances (washing machines, dryers, etc.) running overnight or while you’re away from home.

  4. Check all outlets for burn marks and listen for buzzing or crackling sounds.

  5. Keep a smoke detector on all floors of your home; test them regularly. Keep a Type C fire extinguisher, as well. Type C fire extinguishers are used to put out Class C fires—fires energized by electricity. Check your extinguisher regularly to ensure it’s not expired.

  6. If an electrical fire does break out, do not douse it with water. Water conducts electricity and dumping water on a power source can shock you severely, and could make the fire worse.

  7. First, if you can, safely unplug the power source and call the fire

    department—even if it’s a small fire.

  8. For a small fire, try using baking soda to smother the flames. Baking soda is the same substance used in Type C fire extinguishers. You could also try using a small blanket to smother the flames, but you risk catching the blanket on fire, too.  For larger fires, you can use your Type C fire extinguisher. If the fire is too big to diffuse on your own, leave it to the experts and go outside immediately. Don’t panic.  

  9. Give us a call if an electrical fire breaks out in your home, and we’ll help you file a claim. Don’t have a fire to report? That’s OK. Give us a call anyway and we’ll make sure your homeowners policy has you covered in case you ever do have a run-in with an electrical fire