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Electrical Fires: How Do They Smell, What To Do, and How To Stop One

During an electrical emergency, making quick and informed decisions is vital. Understanding how electrical fires work is essential to ensuring safety while minimising damage to your property.

Being aware of the distinct electrical fire smell can also save lives. It can alert you to the situation, allowing you to contact a 24/7 electrician before it gets out of hand.

In this post, we’ll discuss the three ways to handle an electrical fire and how to stop it while discussing the critical timeframe in which these fires can happen.

3 Ways to Deal With an Electrical Fire

The 3 ways to deal with an electrical fire are to switch off the power source, use a Class E fire extinguisher, and evacuate and call emergency services. Let’s learn more about each one below.

Switch Off Power Source

The first thing you should do is to switch off the main power source immediately. Head over to your home’s circuit breaker or fuse box to perform this action.

Stopping the flow of electricity minimises the chances of a fire from spreading or reigniting.

Use Class E Fire Extinguisher

Make sure to use the proper fire extinguisher to stop an electrical fire. In Australia, this would be the Class E model, specifically designed to extinguish fires caused by electrical malfunctions.

This is possible because the extinguishers contain non-conductive chemicals ideal for electrical fires.

What's An Electrical Fire Smells Like_

Evacuate and Call Emergency Services

In case the fire can’t be controlled or you feel uncertain of your safety, it’s best to evacuate immediately. Once in a safe place, contact an emergency electrician for help.

Remember that your safety and those around you is paramount. Expert firefighters have the right training and equipment to handle these electrical fires safely and efficiently.

How Do You Stop an Electrical Fire?

You stop an electrical fire by first making sure the electrical supply in the affected area, such as a wet electrical outlet, is switched off at the mains. This important step helps prevent the fire from spreading further through the electrical source.

You can use a CO2 or dry powder fire extinguisher to put out electrical fires. If you don’t have one, a fire blanket can be used to smother small flames.

How Long Does It Take for an Electrical Fire to Start?

It takes around 3 minutes to 1 hour for an electrical fire to start under typical conditions. The time frame is affected by factors such as the electrical fault’s intensity, the presence of combustible materials nearby, and the wiring’s condition.

The gap in time is due to the diverse nature of electrical systems and the rates at which they can overheat and ignite.

Can You Smell an Electrical Fire Before It Starts?

Yes, you can smell an electrical fire before it starts. Electrical fire is notable for its distinctive acrid odour. The smell is often caused by overheating electrical insulation or components, which emit a burning scent upon deterioration.

Being aware of these unique odours on your property is vital as an early warning sign for potential electrical hazards.