Accidents, as we know, do not come announced. Electrical short circuits and the fire caused due to them are no exceptions. Often times the reasons for a building catching fire is cited as a short circuit due to the faulty electrical circuit or an old equipment that has outlived its working span.
The loss to property is humongous and the threat to life due to the fire cannot be compared at all. In all the cases of fire keeping a cool head and exiting the building swiftly, without any chaos is the key to saving lives. So what exactly is to be done if there is an electrical fire?An accident can cause a fire which could spread surprisingly fast if not contained.
Here is what experts suggest as immediate steps when there is an electrical fire:
1. If you have safe access to the equipment that is causing the fire, unplug it immediately so as to stop the electrical power supply to the same. This is an important step as it reduces the electric shock hazard significantly.
2. If you feel you are able to handle the fire, it is small and can be controlled through the existing fire fighting equipment go for it. First, locate the fire extinguisher. Usually, they are placed at the entrance of the halls or office areas and are distinctly visible due to their bright red colors. When dealing with electrical fires, it is very important to use a category C fire extinguisher as it has a dry fire extinguishing powder. Other categories A, B, D etc. are water based and they can cause a very high electrocution hazard when you spray it on the fire.
3. Select the right category and carefully take out the pin that protects the accidental usage of the extinguisher. Then take the cylinder or extinguisher and point its nozzle to the base of the fire. Spray the power in bursts at the base of the fire suffocating it off the oxygen needed to continue.
4. Even if you are confident that the fire has been put out in this way, go out of the room, office or building and call the emergency services, fire brigade or inform the disaster recovery representatives within your organization.
5. In the event of a major fire which cannot be handled by the provided firefighting equipment, trained firefighters need to be called in. In such as situation, do not use the elevators to go up or down. It is a difference between saving a life or not and the slightest delay can prove fatal or otherwise. As soon as the fire alarms go off, just drop anything that you are doing, do not even wait for any personal belongings to be picked up from your lockers or your desk where you left them. Move out in an orderly fashion using the stairs and reach the safe assembly point and await further instructions from the right authorities.
6. If it was your home, resist the urge to go in and save any belongings. The fire can attain raging proportions and it is very risky unless you are trained and have worn the proper protective gear to go in and handle such situations.
7. A quick protip can handy – if the fire is small and you know it is isolated, quickly take some baking soda (the one we usually have in the kitchen) and throw it at the base of the fire. This will smother the fire of oxygen and it will be put out quickly. This is the main ingredient in a category C fire extinguisher and is effective in handling electrical fires.
In summary, having a good disaster response team in offices or if the accident occurs in a home, knowing the above things can be very handy and can make a lot of difference in preventing injuries and fatalities.
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