6 ways you should respond in case of an electrical fire

by | Apr 16, 2024

You might think that after all, this is a type of fire emergency and water is your best friend to deal with it. Well, not really. Electrical fires are ‘made’ different. The thing that sets them apart is they originate from an electrical fault, and more often than not they are connected to that faulty appliance or electrical connection. 

And when you put out an electric fire with water, you can imagine the havoc it might bring to you and your loved ones. This is why it needs to be handled completely differently than how you would in case of a forest fire or a gas leak fire. 

Here are 6 ways you can handle an electrical fire:

  1. Do NOT use water

We’ve mentioned this before, but this point is so important that it deserves another round. This is because this way of putting out a fire is instinctively ingrained in all of us. As soon as you see a fire, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Douse it with water

This is so inherently intuitive that most people rush to get water without even stopping for a second to think about the origin of the fire, which brings us to a crucial tip:

💡Bell Electrical tip: In case of fire, first take a step back to analyse its origin before taking any action. This will stop you from making the situation unintentionally worse. In case of an electrical fire, water is a bad idea as it conducts electricity.

  1. Unplug and remove power sources wherever possible

The most obvious first step in an electrical fire is to remove all the power sources giving ‘fire’ to that fire. Disconnect any appliance or cord that is affected from their power source. 

If you can’t do that because the fire has spread to the source plug or it’s not accessible, then switch off the main power supply of the whole house. 

This not only stops the fire from potentially spreading but also prevents electrical shocks to you and your loved ones.

  1. Spray a dry chemical fire extinguisher (preferably class C)

Class C fire extinguishers are especially made for electrical fires that are defined as class C fires. This means that these extinguishers are better suited for electrical fires. But this doesn’t mean that other types of dry chemical fire extinguishers wouldn’t be efficient. Use whatever you have at hand. 

Alternatively you can also use ABC fire extinguishers that are versatile and made for different kinds of fires, such as electrical and combustible – including wood and textile. This brings us to another essential tip:

💡Bell Electrical tip: Different classes of fire extinguishers come with different sets of specific guidelines. It’s important that you know how to operate yours beforehand so it comes in handy in an emergency. Also, ensure that you maintain and recharge it regularly to keep it ready to go at all times.

  1. Use baking soda – the kitchen underdog

If the fire is not big enough you can control it by throwing baking soda on it. Baking soda is a common ingredient found in most kitchens. Apart from being an excellent leavener in baking it’s a powerful tool to control electrical fires. 

The sodium bicarbonate present in baking soda is a chemical that’s also used in fire extinguishers. So you can assess how effective it would be in stopping a fire.

  1. Smother the fire with heavy blanket or clothing

One of the most effective ways to put out a fire is cutting off its oxygen supply. You can do it by covering it with a heavy blanket or clothing. Make sure that you are using a fabric that’s not combustible, otherwise it will make matters worse. 

  1. Call emergency services

If the fire is too big or doesn’t seem controllable even after taking all measures possible, reach out to the fire department or the emergency services. You’ve to know when it’s just too risky and when to call for professional help. In Australia you dial 000 for the fire department.

electrical fire

💡Bell Electrical tip: In case the fire started in an appliance that is attached to the wall or the ceiling, it’s always a good idea to call the fire department, regardless of whether the fire looks small or big. This is because it might have extended to an internal fire smouldering inside the building – invisible to the eyes.


When all is said and done, electrical fires can easily be prevented in the first place by regular maintenance, repair and consultations with professional electricians like us here at Bell Electrical. Reach out to us at 0411 471 922 for a consultation today.

Need Help?

Do you need to have your electrical systems done? Bell Electrical Contractors is happy to help. Call us on 0411471922 or email us at info@bellelectrical.com.au.