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Electrical Fires: Prevention, Damage, and Restoration

Electrical fires pose a massive danger to buildings, both commercial and residential. Electronics of all shapes and sizes are common in our lives, and the amount of power feeding these components is only increasing. Electrical fires require a good degree of prevention to avoid damage, and what does happen will require proper restoration.

This article will detail all aspects of electrical fires to help you adequately prepare for and handle electrical fires and the damage they cause.

Difference Between Regular Fires vs. Electrical Fires

The differences between regular fires and electrical fires are few but are worth understanding so that you know what to watch for (and how to deal with it). 

Regular fires can start from any source of heat or flames. They spread along materials and surfaces that are flammable. Electrical fires can start from a simple malfunction of components in electronics. The flames will travel along any conductive material or surface.

These faulty components may or may not be visible, further increasing the odds of one getting out of control. Sometimes electronics that become too hot—like lighting fixtures—can set alight combustible materials next to them. 

How To Put Out An Electrical Fire

When an electrical fire starts, it must be extinguished in a different way than a regular fire. While it may seem counterintuitive, pouring water on an electrical fire is the wrong move. Water conducts electricity, putting you and others one step closer to the dangerous current. It could also spread the fire further if the water bridges one conductive object to another..

An electrical fire must be dealt with by the use of an extinguisher or an automated fire suppression system. These will put out an electrical fire while keeping the danger of further electrocution to a minimum. If you are faced with putting out an electrical fire, disconnect the power in the safest way possible and then use the extinguisher to completely cover the electrified or burning area.

How To Prevent Electrical Fires

The dangers of business or home electrical fires can only be prevented by properly attending to any possible sources of fire. We’re going to look at a couple of common ones, but keep in mind that there are numerous other ways. Always have your property checked to make sure the electrical wiring is in good condition.

9-volt batteries are another common cause of how electrical fires start. Even weak batteries, which we usually toss out, can cause a fire. You should keep both new and drained 9V batteries away from metals such as paper clips, steel wool, aluminum foil, keys, and other batteries. When it’s time to dispose of the batteries, take them to your city’s collection facility for hazardous waste.

Catching fire from computers and laptops may be uncommon, but it happens. Possible causes for computers and laptops catching fire include the following: 

  • Defective fans or batteries
  • Prolonged use or charging
  • Faulty or worn-out cables
  • Exposure to high temperatures

Laptop designers have also created their products to be thinner and lighter, which can also mean the casing is more fragile and offers less protection from external heat. To ensure that your computers and laptops are working well, check vents and fans from time to time. You should also place your laptop on a firm, level surface or use a cooling stand.

Electrical Fire Damage

Electrical fires are just as dangerous as regular fires and cause just as much damage. According to FEMA, electrical fires kill an average of 310 people every year and seriously injure 1,100 more. Because many electronics are running during the night, which is a known safety hazard, it is easy to be caught off guard by a sudden fire. Besides the danger to your life, there is also plenty of property on the line.

The apparent loss is that of the electronics which caught fire, to begin with. It is very rare that you would be able to salvage the machine once it has combusted and caught flame. This fire can also spread to floors, walls, ceilings, and surrounding objects. One fire can put the whole building in danger!

Smoke emitted by a large fire is a major safety hazard and can leave lasting effects on the home. Smoke and soot can stain surfaces and materials; even if there is no visible evidence of a fire, the smell can be overwhelming. Large electrical fires often cause damage that requires skilled workers to restore.

Electrical Fire Damage Restoration

Compleat Restorations understands how disastrous it is to have a fire in your home, and how important it is that the restoration process goes smoothly. Work with us and get the peace of mind you need knowing your property is being handled by experts.

We have over 40 years’ of experience with fire and smoke damage restoration projects – big and small. No matter how big the fire was, our experienced and certified staff create a customized plan for your home so you return to a safe and healthy environment.

Proper restoration includes methods such as:

  • Thorough Assessment
  • Emergency Board Up
  • Emergency Pre-Cleaning
  • Smoke Odor Reduction 
  • Repairs
  • Cleaning Your Belongings

To read more about how Compleat Restorations can fix your electrical fire damage or to contact us, click here!