How To Detect An Electrical Fire. Whether it’s in a residential or commercial setting, electrical fires are unfortunately commonplace. In fact, Electrical Safety Foundation International states that over 50,000 home electrical fires occur on an annual basis, causing close to 500 deaths and more than 1,400 injuries. In terms of commercial settings, the United States Fire Administration states that 8,200 fires occur annually due to electrical malfunctions, costing approximately $431 million in damages.

How to Detect an Electrical Fire

There are a few different ways in which you can determine if you are dealing with an electrical fire. One of the most common is noticing a persistent burning smell and not being able to figure out exactly where it’s coming from. However, if you actually are able to locate the source, you will want to immediately shut off all power to that location. In the event that you can’t, the best step to take is to shut off your electrical system until an experienced professional is able to come to your home to assess the issue. Other common methods of detection include breakers that keep tripping, outlets and switches that are either discolored or charred, lights that dim for no reason at all, and wiring that is old or damaged.

How Long Does it Take for an Electrical Fire to Spread?

The simple answer to this question is that it typically takes anywhere from 30 seconds to five minutes in order to an electrical fire to spread. No matter how the fire may have started, even the smallest flame can end up consuming a home within this amount of time. When it comes to commercial buildings, an electrical fire can take longer to spread due to their overall size.

How to Put Out an Electrical Fire

How To Detect An Electrical Fire. The most effective method to put out an electrical fire is to use a fire extinguisher. In the event that you don’t have one, you can instead use baking soda. If you find smoke, fire, or any kind of strange odor coming from wires or appliances, you will need to turn off your appliances and your circuit breaker before then contacting 911 immediately to inform emergency services that you have an electrical emergency at your home. Under no circumstances should you ever use water to try to put out an electrical fire. This is because water is able to conduct electricity, thereby increasing your risk of being electrocuted.