Corporal Anderson Tuitt of the St John’s Fire Department is advising residents to be careful when attempting to put out fires suspected to be due to an electrical problem.
He said some people are practicing methods that can worsen the situation.
“Water should never be used in an electrical fire because we all know water and electricity do not mix and it is a recipe for disaster,” Corporal Tuitt said.
Since water conducts electricity, a current will flow through the water and shock the person who comes into contact with it. The shock could lead to death.
He advised the first move should be to unplug the electronic appliance then switch off the main breaker.
“In most cases, once a fire [starts] due to electricity, it would more than likely start burning ordinary combustibles like wood, paper, plastic,” Tuitt said, adding that once the appliance is unplugged and breaker is turned off “that’s when you can start to use water”.
The fireman said the department has found that overloading outlets, power surges and overused heating appliances are the main sources of electrical fires on the twin island.
“The prevention strategies that we advise [people] to apply is to plug out all devices that are not needed [especially] when you’re leaving home to go work or going places for extended periods,” he said.
The officer added, “The only appliance that should remain plugged in should be your refrigerator. Your television or fan or any appliance that is not used, we are advising that you plug it out.”
Additionally, Tuitt said the public needs to periodically use the services of qualified electricians who can adequately check electric wiring and maintain their breaker systems at home.
“We find that from time to time [people] tend take the cheaper route and then in the long run it costs them more,” the fire official said.
He said homeowners can examine their electric outlets and wiring for some types of damage that may be easily visible.
Meanwhile, Tuitt also offered advice to drivers to safely steer vehicles to the road side to a safe spot if they see signs of a fire.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)