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How to Identify and Extinguish Class E Fires

26 March 2021

How to Identify and Extinguish Class E Fires

In the unfortunate event that a fire breaks out in your workplace, you’ll want to handle it as quickly and safely as possible. Stopping a fire from spreading is vital in order to protect life and prevent the destruction of your premises. 

But what you might not realise is that different fires require different fire extinguishers. Using the wrong one could have disastrous consequences – so it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. 

This article will outline the dangers that a Class E fire can pose, and how it can be extinguished. 

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What is a Class E Fire?

All fires fall into different categories depending on the cause. For instance, a fire triggered by solid materials is Class A, and those that are started by flammable liquids are Class B. There is a long list of definitions, but a Class E fire specifically relates to one that has been started due to electrical appliances.

Whether it’s televisions, computers or even domestic appliances such as hair straighteners or a curling iron, any fire that breaks out due to faulty electronics is graded as Class E. 

This classification relates specifically to the appliance involved and as soon as it is removed from the situation, the fire changes class. 

 

How to identify a Class E Fire?

Unlike some blazes where it may be difficult to locate the cause, it is usually fairly simple to identify a Class E fire. 

If an electronic appliance is clearly sparking, has smoke emitting from it or has completely become ablaze, then you’ll know you’re dealing with a Class E fire. They’re particularly common in environments where a large amount of electric equipment is stored such as server rooms or office space so it’s important to make sure all of this equipment is maintained so the risk of fire remains as low as possible.  

 

How to extinguish a Class E Fire?

It is important to use the correct kind of fire extinguisher on a Class E fire – if you don’t then you’re risking the fire getting worse and your own health. Unsurprisingly, a blaze that has been started as a result of electricity should not be tackled with water, ruling out some of the most common extinguishers. 

Instead, dry powder or CO2 fire extinguishers are the way to go. They won’t conduct electricity in the same way a water extinguisher would, meaning they’re safe to use. You can easily check if the fire extinguisher you have is appropriate for this kind of fire – to determine if it can be used on electrical fires simply see if there is a lightning bolt sticker on the side – if there is then it’s safe to use. 

The first thing to do before attempting to put out a fire of this type is to ensure all electrical equipment is switched off. Next, it’s time to use the fire extinguisher utilising the PASS method – the universal standard for using fire extinguishers. 

A straightforward process the PASS system involves:

P- Pulling the extinguisher’s pin

A- Aiming the nozzle at the fire 

S- Squeeze the lever to release the extinguishing agent

S– Sweep – use a swift sweeping motion always ensuring you’re keeping your distance from the fire

Remember, if the fire is large or is getting out of hand, always call the emergency services and get yourself to safety. Only attempt to put out a fire if it is small and manageable, and you have the correct safety equipment in place. 

Here at Fire and Security Group, we’re experts in fire safety. We understand the importance of keeping you and your employees safe and can provide the highest quality fire extinguishers, alarm systems and training to ensure you’re always protected. Contact us today for more information on how we can help.  

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