What to Do if an Outlet Catches Fire?

A significant number of fires that occur in homes and offices are caused by faulty electric wall outlets. Unfortunately, not many people are prepared to handle faulty outlets when they catch fire.

This article delves into why electricity outlets catch fire, what you should do when your power outlet is sparking or shooting flames, and how to prevent fires from occurring in the first place.

Causes of Fires at an Outlet

Power outlets are designed to transmit an electrical charge from the electrical panel to electronic devices. Any disruption in the flow of the electricity can cause excessive heat in the outlet box, causing a fire.

Here are common causes of power outlet fires:

Faulty Wiring

The main cause of a fire in a power outlet is faulty wiring. If your electrician connects the power cables incorrectly, it can result in a short circuit, which will create sparks that might cause a fire. This is why your electrician needs to understand the electrical panel color code and make the right connections.

In the United States, electricians follow the National Electrical Code (NEC), which is the standard wiring color code. For instance, if you install an outdoor watering system, have the electricians strictly follow the sprinkler system wire color code to create a safe wiring system.

Overloaded Outlets

Each power outlet is designed to supply a certain amount of voltage. So, if you overload your outlet by drawing excess power from it (e.g., too many extension cords and items plugged into one outlet), it’ll overheat. This is why your office should have enough power outlets for all your workers and equipment.

Ungrounding Your Outlets

Your wiring requires a separate channel that enables the charge from your appliances to be released back to the ground to avoid shocks and fires. If your power outlets aren’t properly grounded, this can lead to sparks and fire.

Old Outlets

Like other electrical components, power outlets wear out with time. The wiring cables connecting the outlet will also wear out after some time. This will loosen the cables and cause the outlet to arch, causing excess heat.

Furthermore, your old power outlets may be outdated and incompatible with the latest electronics. This might cause them to overheat and eventually burn.

In Case of Fire

If you notice flames or sparks coming out of your power outlet, there are several important steps you should take immediately to avert a disastrous fire. However, the steps you take depend on the size of the fire.

If the fire in the power outlet seems to be growing larger, your priority should be to get yourself and any others out of the premises safely. If the fire doesn’t pose any immediate danger to anyone in the area, you can try to put it out before it spreads.

In the latter scenario, switch off the electricity at the circuit breaker, and use a fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Make sure the extinguisher has a C rating because it’s more effective when putting out electrical fires.

The C rating will be printed on the outside of the extinguisher. If there is no fire extinguisher close to you, you can use baking soda or sodium bicarbonate to put out the flames. You can also suffocate the flames by covering them with a heavy, wet blanket and stomping them out.

Be Prepared

Make sure safety tips are clearly displayed on the walls of your offices to help everyone in the event of a threat of fire. Creative Safety Supply is here to help you determine exactly what you need and create safety labels to inform others of what to do in the event of a fire!


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