A fire accident can happen for a variety of reasons but an electrical short circuit has been found to be the most common cause. A short circuit is an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit intended to be at different voltages. First, an electrical short circuit causes current overload. Second, this overload causes high heat. Last, this high heat increases the temperature of surrounding materials until the temperature reach to a point that objects catch fire. As obvious, short circuits can cause serious damage, fire, and even small-scale explosions. In fact, short circuits are one of the leading causes of structural fires around the world.
If an electrical fire starts, the practical steps to be taken are:
· Cut off the electricity. If the device that is causing the electrical fire is found, and you can reach the cord and outlet safely, unplug it.
· Add sodium bicarbonate. ...
· Remove the oxygen source. ...
· Don't use water to put it out. ...
What are the safeguards available to prevent a short circuit? Some may be:
Fuses – One-time current limiting devices made to open the circuit if the current exceeds a specified limit for a specified time. Fuses can be slow-blow or quick-acting.
Circuit Breakers – Re-settable current limiting devices. Most are dual-action that can trip on instantaneous overload or a longer, but lower, overload. Also carry an interrupt rating – how much current they can safety interrupt. Some larger breakers have adjustable time delays to help coordinate with other breakers.
Thermal Cut-outs and thermostats – Provide circuit interruption (either temporary or permanent) if the temperature gets too high.
Grounding (Earthing) – Important not only because it keeps all exposed parts of the system at about the same potential to prevent electrocution hazards, it also provides a low-impedance path capable of tripping a breaker if a fault current occurs.
Fire accidents claim lives and property regularly in frightening sequence every minute, so the best bet must be to ensure safety of electrical connections by the methods as explained and nipping the threat at the bud. If at all a fire still happens, exigency products like emergency lights, safety signages, exit signs etc. and established protocols must be utilized to ensure quick and safe escape.
Fire departments have awareness programs and drills regularly and common people must make it a habit to learn and acquire necessary skills to be always alert to fire hazards.