Can I Put Water on an Electrical Fire?


We may be approaching the fall, but within a few short months it will be over and winter will have officially arrived. After the kids go back to school and their winter break starts to approach, it’s important to realize that in the winter, people spend more time indoors and that means they use more electricity.

December through March, not only are we inside more, but we’re using more electricity to run our heaters, to watch TV, to plug in our space heaters, to use our stoves and ovens, to use our kitchen appliances, and so on. From December through January 1st, we’re using a lot more electricity during the holidays to light up our homes from the outside in.

Hidden Dangers in Electricity

Electricity is all around us – we use it non-stop at home and at work. The problem is that we depend on it so heavily, a lot of us forget how dangerous it can be. Electricity is one of the biggest hidden dangers that threaten us all. In fact, most people forget all about the risk of electrical fires and how it’s a looming threat 24 hours a day, but especially during the winter months when we use more power than usual.

In an effort to keep you, your family, and your community safe, please read the following tips on what to do in case of an electrical fire, and why water is not the solution! Share these tips with your friends and family – you could save a life!

What to do if there is an electrical fire (water not included):

  • If you know what device is causing the electrical fire and you can safely reach the cord, unplug it right away.
  • If the fire is still small, you can smother it with baking soda powder.
  • Another way to put out a small electrical fire is to cut off its oxygen source by covering it with clothing or a heavy blanket. It’s not safe to do this if the fire is big and out of control.
  • DO NOT USE WATER to put the electrical fire out. Why? Because, water is a conductor of electricity and if you throw a bucket of water on an electrical fire, you can be electrocuted. What’s more, water can actually cause the fire to spread by conducting electricity throughout the room, especially if there are flammable materials, such as curtains or a fabric couch in the room.
  • Do you have a fire extinguisher that is appropriate for an electrical fire, which is a Class C fire? Residential fire extinguishers are usually multi-purpose and labeled ABC, but make sure you verify this before using it on an electrical fire.

“What if the fire is too big, or I am not able to put it out with one of the above methods?” In that case, GET OUT of the building and have everyone else in the home leave as well. This is not the time to be a hero. As you leave, close the door so the fire can stay contained and call 911 once you are a safe distance away from the home. Do not try to go back into your home until the firefighters say it’s safe to do so.

Next: Electrical Safety for Kids

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