How to Prevent an Electrical Fire

May 16, 2022

Electrical fires can be a common occurrence in commercial buildings. They can cause damage that is worth millions of dollars. 


Electrical energy enters commercial buildings through an electrical distribution system. This system varies in size and complexity depending upon the business’s operation. The system usually includes wiring, circuit breakers, and fuses, as well as additional step-down transformers to supply low-voltage equipment. Complex components in Perth electrical equipment can pose fire hazards to commercial buildings. 

It takes only a spark to ignite an electrical fire at your business. A fire in your company or on your property could cause serious damage, including financial loss, disruption, injuries, and death.  

When there is more current flowing through an outlet or electric circuit than the system can handle, it is called “electric current.” The increased electricity can cause excess heat on wires and circuit breakers, which could increase the chance of a short circuit or fire. Commercial buildings can experience certain problems. There are steps that you can take to stop electrical fires from starting and protecting your employees and business. 


Electrical Fires in Workplaces: What Causes Them? 


There are hundreds of places an electrical fire can start in a typical business. Many commercial buildings have a lot of electrical wiring and power equipment. There are many potential hazards that can cause electrical fires. It is important to inform your employees and yourself about these risks. 

Commercial buildings can be the perfect place for an electrical fire to start. These are the top causes of electric fires: 


Faulty Wiring 


Electrical fires are often caused by unsafe wiring. These include wiring that is too exposed and susceptible to sparking or reducing connectivity; older or overcrowded wiring that cannot handle modern demands and can overheat; wiring that is not compatible with the circuit amperage; or wiring that isn’t in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) National Electric Code. 




In Perth, electrical equipment outlets are commonplace to light an electric fire. An overload of outlets with too many appliances or an incorrect outlet can lead to power failure, sparks, melting, and fires. 


Extension Cords  


The most dangerous risk factor for starting fires is extension cords. These cords can become overloaded and melt wires, spark sparks, or start fires if they are too heavy. If an extension cord is run under the carpet, it can overheat. An extension cord can also overheat if it is run through a window, doorway, or ceiling. This can lead to crimping and loss of connectivity. Extension cords shouldn’t be attached with nails, staples, or tape. They should only be used for temporary, seasonal, or short-term purposes. 


Lighting Fixtures 


A common danger to fires is the presence of faulty lighting fixtures. Faulty light fixtures or higher-wattage bulbs can cause arcing, fires, and overheating. 


Damaged or Defective Equipment 


Equipment damaged or malfunctioning can lead to electrical fires if it is not fixed immediately. 


Unattended or Faulty Space Heaters 


Many space heaters are too close to flammable materials, such as clothes, curtains, and other clothing. They can also cause heat build-up and sparks, which can ignite a fire. 


Dusty or Greasy Equipment 


An explosion or fire could result from greasy or soiled equipment. It is recommended that they be cleaned at least once a year to remove grease, dirt, and dust from bathroom exhaust fans in commercial buildings and apartments. 


Static Electricity 


We’ve all experienced a slight shock when we touched metal or a switch. This usually happens during the cold and dry winter months. Static electricity can create sparks and ignite fumes, dust particles or other flammable gases if it builds up to a sufficient strength. 


How to Prevent Electric Fires 


It’s important to be familiar with how a fire starts and what the wiring is doing. Most commercial buildings have an electrical distribution system that allows electricity to enter the building. This complex network includes circuit breakers, fuses, and transformers, as well as electrical wiring. It is important to maintain a clean and tidy environment around the electrical distribution system. Whenever possible, electrical distribution equipment should be kept in a separate room that is clean, dry, well ventilated, temperature-controlled, and properly sealed against dirt, dust, and critters. You should keep the area free of any combustible materials. Keep a BC-or ABC-rated fire extinguisher on hand in case of an emergency. 

To reduce the chance of electrocution in your workplace, consider the following recommendations: 


Inspect the Equipment  


A licenced commercial electrician should inspect, clean, and test electrical equipment regularly. Infrared Thermal Imaging is one of the most effective ways to identify hot spots and prevent them from becoming major problems. This can be done using a handheld thermal scanner that points at the electrical panel. This kind of imaging is best performed by an electrician. A thermal scanner can be used by commercial electrical companies to inspect larger businesses. You may also want to train your employees on how to use it. The following equipment should be regularly inspected: 


  • Wiring 
  • Transformers 
  • Fuses 
  • Panelboards, switchboards, and switchgear
  • Circuit breakers 
  • Disconnect switches 
  • Motors and motor control 
  • Contactors & relays 


      Follow the Recommended Lockout/Tagout Procedures 


      It is important to use proper lockout/Tagout procedures when electrical equipment systems are being repaired, removed, or replaced. This will prevent injury and accidental reenergizing. To let everyone know that maintenance has begun, you must place a lock and tag on the main circuit breaker or disconnect the switch controlling disengaged equipment.  


      Make Sure Your Workers Are Fire-Aware 


      Your best defence against an electrical fire is the staff who are well-informed about fire hazards and educated about safe ways to deal with electricity. This training can make the difference between a small fire that is quickly put under control and a major loss of business. Regular fire drills should be conducted to ensure everyone is familiar with the proper procedures for evacuating from a fire. Training employees in fire response so they know what to do if they see a flame and how to use fire extinguishers. 


      Perth Industrial Electrical Contractors, WACOMM Offers Inspections and Safety Services for Electrical Equipment 


      Our commercial electrical company technicians don’t want to hear from clients who have suffered from an electrical fire. As industrial electrical contractors, we offer a full range of electrical support, repair, and replacement services. Keep your family and home safe, contact us today. 

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