Electrical Fire Extinguishers - The Solution to Fires Caused by Electricity
Most houses and offices have electrical systems, and they are often used heavily.
A lot of people understand that electrical fires are a possibility.
What they don't realize is that electrical fires cannot be treated like other fires.
To deal with electrical fires, you need an electrical fire extinguisher.
Electrical fires are fires that are caused by short circuits in the electrical system or overloaded power cables.
The failure point throws off sparks, and nearby combustible material is set on fire.
Water cannot be used to extinguish an electrical fire.
Water conducts electricity, and those unlucky enough to be in contact with that water are in serious danger of electrical shock.
Many firefighters have lost their lives because of electrical shocks in this manner.
Instead of water, carbon dioxide and dry chemical powders are used to combat electrical fires.
These two types of fire extinguishing substances do not conduct electricity, and are thus safe to use for electrical fires.
Fire extinguishers are rated according to the substance they contain.
Electrical fire extinguishers are designated as Class C in the USA, and Class E in Europe and Australia.
These marks are also used in other countries.
Always know what type of fire extinguisher is available, so you don't put yourself or others in danger.
Carbon dioxide or CO2 is a common gas.
At the molecular level, it consists of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.
Carbon dioxide is produced by animals and people when they breathe out.
Carbon dioxide has many uses: it is used to make sodas fizzy, remove caffeine from coffee, and more.
One of its most popular uses is as a fire extinguishing agent.
Carbon dioxide works by pushing away oxygen in the air, and the fire dies from lack of oxygen.
Carbon dioxide can be dangerous when not used properly, as excess carbon dioxide can cause dizziness or unconsciousness.
A substance called Purple-K or PKP is often used for electrical fire suppression.
PKP is mainly used for flammable liquid fires, but it has proven effective against electrical fires.
PKP is a smooth, purple powder that floats on most liquids.
PKP does not get wet with water, and it is not dangerous when ingested in small amounts.
Cleanup of PKP is done using suction when the discharged PKP is dry.
When PKP mixes with liquids like water and oil-based products however, it produces a crusty scum that can be very challenging to remove.
PKP works by inhibiting chemical reactions and, to a small degree, smothers the fire.
If you do not have a fire extinguisher rated for electrical fires, the best thing to do is turn off the electricity.
When the electrical system is turned off, the fire becomes safer to deal with.
If the burning material is paper, wood, rubber, or plastic, then the fire becomes an ordinary combustibles fire.
In this case, water may be used.
Just make sure to dry up the wet spots and replace the burnt parts before turning the electricity back on! The best way of identifying an electrical fire extinguisher is to look for a certain icon on it.
The icon is a black square, with white prints of an electrical plug and socket on fire.
It should not have a red slash across it - if it does, it is unsafe to use for electrical fires.
Depending on your location or where your fire extinguisher was made, it will have either a capital letter C or E on it.
Make sure to know beforehand what kind of fire extinguisher you have, and how to use it properly!