What type of fire extinguisher is used for electrical fires?

What type of fire extinguisher is used for electrical fires?

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What type of fire extinguisher is used for electrical fires?

An electrical fire is caused by faulty or damaged electrical equipment, wiring, outlets, etc. Electrical fires can be more dangerous and challenging to extinguish, as they can extend fast and create shock risks. 

That is why it is essential to know which type of fire extinguisher to use for electrical fires and how to use this extinguisher safely and effectively.

Although most offices have computers and other electrical equipment, it might sometimes be confusing what to do if an electrical equipment fire occurs. While combustible or flammable materials will serve as the fire’s true fuel, we are going to refer to this as an “electrical fire.”

Any fire safety plan must know the various forms of fires, especially in workplaces where flammable liquids, chemicals, and electricity can cause fires. 

Electrical fires, generally referred to as Class C fires, call for specific fire extinguishers. Extra safety precautions need to be taken when handling a Class C fire. Your home and business property safety depends on your ability to identify the signs of Class C fires and know how to put them out.

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    Types of Fire Extinguishers

    There are six types of fire: Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, ‘Electrical’, and Class F. –  

    •  Class A fires: combustible materials (caused by flammable solids, such as paper, wood, and fabric)
    •   Class B fires: flammable liquids (such as petrol, paint, or turpentine)
    •  Class C fires:  flammable gases ( such as hydrogen, butane, or methane)
    •  Class D fires:  combustible metals(chemicals such as magnesium, potassium or aluminum)
    •  Electrical fires: electrical equipment( once the electrical item is removed, the fire shifts class)
    • Class F fires: cooking oils (such as a chip-pan fire)

    Table

    Type Class A  Combustible materials (e.g. paper, wood etc.)  Class B  Flammable liquids (e.g. paint, petrol etc.) Class C Flammable gases ( e.g. butane, methane etc.) Class D Flammable metals (e.g. lithium,potasium) Electrical Electrical equipment (e.g.computers, generators) Class F Deep fat fryers (e.g. chip pans) Comments
    Water Not used on liquid or electric fires
    Foam Not for domestic use
    Dry Powder Can be used safely upto 1000 volts
    CO2 Safe for both high and low voltage
    Wet chemicals Use for extremely high temparature

    What are Class C Fires?

    A class C fire is energized by electricity. The word “energized” here refers to the presence of a power source. This kind of fire may be caused by short circuits, faulty wiring, broken power cords, and overheated electronics, among other things. Anywhere there is electrical equipment, there is a chance of a Class C fire.

    Water or foams with a water basis cannot put out Class C fires since the fire’s electrical source of ignition cannot be controlled. An electrical shock could occur to someone trying to put out a fire with water. Watering down a Class C fire, therefore, could distribute the energy and start a new fire from a different source.

    To differentiate it from A or B Class fires, fire is referred to as Class C. Class A flames are controlled by water and involve fuels like wood or fire; Class B fires are started by liquids like gasoline, etc.

    Carbon Dioxide or CO2 Extinguishers

    CO2 fire extinguishers are often the primary type of extinguishers available in computer server rooms, and they are primarily utilized for electrical fire threats. They also extinguish Class B flames, which are caused by combustible liquids like paint and petroleum.

    Label Colour:

     Black

    Use it for:

    Flammable liquids, like paint and petrol

     Electrical fires

    Do not use for:

    Flammable metals

     Kitchen fires mostly chip-pan fires

    Combustible materials like paper, wood, or textiles

    Types of premises/businesses/buildings that may need CO2 extinguishers

    Premises with electrical equipment, such as:

    Offices

     Kitchens

    Hospitals

    Construction sites

     Server rooms

    All work vehicles should also carry a smaller 2kg CO2 extinguisher.

    Where to locate CO2 extinguishers

    Place it near the source of the fire risk or the fire exits.

    How to Extinguish a Class C Fire?

    In case the material consumed in flames is isolated from the main power supply, an electrical fire may transform into a conventional fire. This is neither practicable nor safe to accomplish, and there are instances in which it is difficult to tell whether an object has been unplugged from its power source. If water is used to put out an electrical fire that remains connected to an electrical source, it can become dangerous and possibly dangerous. To reduce risk, use the finest fire extinguisher for electrical fires in certain circumstances.

    Having a fire extinguisher that has been designed for electrical fires and knowing how to use it are essential for total fire safety. Unfortunately, only Class C extinguishers are suitable for extinguishing a fire that is still connected to electricity.

    Fire Suppression Equipment for Fighting Electrical Fire

    Putting out an electrical fire requires the use of an extinguisher that may kill the fuel, oxygen, and heat sources of the fire. Carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers put out a fire by taking away its oxygen. Because of the low temperature of their discharge, they reduce the fire’s heat. Similarly, dry extinguishers work to divide the elements of a fire. This extinguisher stops the oxygen and fuel from combining by releasing the chemicals, which also put out the fire. 

    To put out a fire, any kind of fire extinguisher must be used correctly. You may make sure you know how to use fire extinguishers properly in the event of a fire by routinely going over the instructions. To ensure your fire extinguisher is in good operating condition, give it a periodic test.

    Class C For Fire Prevention

    The best way to fight a fire is by prevention. To avoid Class C fires, make sure your wiring, electrical equipment, and appliances are always in good working order and up to code. Avoid overloading sockets or overcharging electrical devices. Fires can happen in well-kept areas as well.

    Anywhere an electrical fire can start, keep a modern fire extinguisher designed specifically for putting out electrical fires nearby. To be fully prepared in the event of a Class C fire, learn how to use your fire extinguisher. Consult your local fire department for guidance on the best safety precautions for your building at all times.

    Proper Usage and Safety Guidelines for Co2 extinguisher

    CO2 extinguishers are mainly designed to put out electrical fires, although they can also be used to put out Class B liquid fires. Their application varies based on the kind of fire. Use of CO2 extinguishers is not advised in tiny spaces since CO2 gas is lethal at concentrations of only 8% and hazardous at only 4%.

    Only use an extinguisher to put out tiny fires. If the fire has spread, leave the area right once, alert people to the presence of the fire, and then dial for help from the fire and rescue services. Make sure to maintain a safe distance and adhere to the guidelines below if you decide to put out the fire.

    • Pulling the safety pin (Fig. 2) will cause the tamper seal to shatter.
    • If the horn is not frost-free, do not hold it; it gets very cold when used and can cause serious frost burns. To avoid this, only buy CO2 extinguishers that have frost-free horns. 
    • Pull the lever to begin the extinguisher’s discharge. Please be aware that the loud discharge noise produced by the CO2 extinguishers is typical.
    • The extinguisher’s aim:
    1. Flammable Liquids: Move across the area and aim the horn at the base of the flames. Be careful not to let the CO2 extinguisher’s strong jet splash into the flaming liquid.
    2. Electrical equipment: Turn off the electricity as soon as it’s safe to do so to avoid a subsequent re-ignition, and then aim the horn directly at the fire.
    • Note that the discharge time of a CO2 extinguisher is very brief.
    • Even after using a CO2 extinguisher, it is still possible for the fire to renew, so be sure it is completely out. After use, CO2 gas wanders away and, if the fire is still really hot, it may just rekindle.

    Conclusion

    Putting out an electrical fire brings knowledge of the possible risks and knowing which fire extinguisher to use. Class C fires, or electrical fires, require special extinguishers, and carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguishers are the most common type used to put out these kinds of flames.

    When used in areas with electrical equipment, like offices, kitchens, hospitals, construction sites, and server rooms, these extinguishers function by smothering the fire’s oxygen. But, while using CO2 extinguishers, it is crucial to adhere to the recommended safety precautions, making sure that electrical power is turned off before pointing the extinguisher towards the fire source. Maintaining electrical equipment and following safety regulations are crucial to reducing the danger of electrical fires, as prevention is still the best course of action for such incidents.

    FAQs

    Carbon Dioxide or CO2 Extinguishers are the best for extinguishing fires. Do not use a water extinguisher on an electrical fire. Use a carbon dioxide fire extinguisher in its place. Since carbon dioxide doesn’t conduct electricity, it is the best extinguishing agent for electrical fires and won’t harm the building or its contents further.
    CO2 extinguishers are often the primary form of fire extinguisher available in computer server rooms, and they are primarily utilized for electrical fire threats. They also extinguish Class B flames, which are caused by combustible liquids like paint and petroleum.

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