Can A Regular Fire Extinguisher Be Used For An Electric Fire?

When people think about putting a fire out, the first thing to come to mind would be a water fire extinguisher. Unfortunately, when it comes to electrical fires, these can cause way more harm than good. Water fire extinguishers are ideal if you need to extinguish an organic fire, such as burning paper, wood or even textiles. These Fires are Class A fires. The current standards recommend that you have a water fire extinguisher and another type of extinguisher for fires that Class A might not be suitable for putting out. You may have a CO2 fire extinguisher to take care of any electrical fires in an office or a chemical extinguisher if you work in catering and deal with fat and oil.

Water and Electrics Don’t Mix

Never use a water-based fire extinguisher for an electrical fire or any fire involving a flammable liquid. Water will conduct the current if you spray water on an electrical fire, and you put yourself at a very high risk of electrocution. When dealing with a very flammable liquid, you may find that water doesn’t extinguish it. Water will help it spread, and if this is the case, it will do much more damage to your home. The solution would be for you to have an additional extinguisher along with your water-based extinguisher. Every extinguisher will have a prominent label telling you what it gets used for and how you should operate it.

Fire extinguisher in front of welder working
Fire Extinguisher for Powder AB(E)
Choosing the Right Fire Extinguisher for the Job

You must ensure that you choose a suitable extinguisher for the job where possible. For example, if you work in an office, the two main types of fire you may be dealing with will be electrical or material. In such instances, having a water fire extinguisher and a CO2 fire extinguisher is a way to go. If you work in an industrial environment, there are many more potential risks, and you face different fire hazards. If you work in an environment where you handle metals or lithium, you may need a metal powder extinguisher. The best and easiest way to ensure you have a suitable extinguisher for the job would be to have a fire risk assessment. You can then detail the hazards and ensure you use the correct procedure when dealing with a fire emergency.

The Law and Fire Extinguishers

It is a legal requirement for you to have a fire extinguisher if you operate commercial premises. It’s not about having something you can check off a list. You must do your due diligence to ensure that you have the correct equipment to prepare for a fire.

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