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What Type of Fire Extinguisher Is Used on Electrical Fires?

5th Jan 2023

Electrical Fire Hazards - Red Box Fire Control

It’s important that your premises are safe for customers and employees alike. Part of creating a safe working environment includes minimising fire risks by installing fire extinguishers.

Despite computers and other electrical equipment being commonplace in most workplaces, it may not be immediately obvious what to do should a fire break out that involves electrical equipment. We call this an “electrical fire”, but the actual fuel for the fire will be combustible or flammable materials.

There are many different types of fire extinguishers available and not all of them are safe to use in this scenario.

Types of Fire Extinguishers

There are five main types of fire extinguishers which include water, foam, carbon dioxide, dry powder and wet chemical. This stretches to eight if you include different variations of the dry powder and water extinguishers. Our previous blog Fire Extinguisher Types and When to Use Them explains this in more detail.

Fire types will typically be defined by the fuel source and are broken down into different classes, with extinguishers differing according to the nature of the incident.

For example, if there is a fire involving  combustible materials, only an extinguisher rated for class A fires is suitable to extinguish it.

Electrical fires work differently, however. Instead of having their own class, a fire extinguisher needs to have passed a conductivity test in order to be deemed safe to extinguish flames near electrical equipment.

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Which Fire Extinguishers Can Be Used for Electrical Fires?

When there is an electrical fire the most suitable extinguishers to use are either the carbon dioxide or dry powder types.

Foam extinguishers aren’t normally suitable for putting out electrical fires, but many modern types are safe to use for incidental electrical risks.

Similarly, many models of wet chemical extinguishers are now safe to deploy against incidental electrical equipment risks.

Standard water extinguishers should never be used for electrical fires and can in fact cause significantly more danger. In recent years a growing number of water based extinguishers have been available  which can tackle incidental electrical fires by virtue of their discharge nozzle design. You should always check the label first.

To keep your fire extinguishers in top shape visit our website to find out more about our fire extinguisher maintenance service or contact us today.

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Red Box Fire Control is proud to celebrate over 35 years in the fire safety industry.

Over this time we've grown in knowledge and expertise, focussing on supporting businesses with their compliance in a friendly yet efficient manner.

We are confident that we're able to provide our customers with a high level of professionalism and industry insight. Add to this our commitment to integrity, and when it comes to fire safety you can expect peace of mind unmatched by other suppliers.

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