Licensed Electricians Strategies to Prevent Commercial Electrical Fires

Residential and commercial services rely heavily on electrical systems to run daily operations. However, without enough knowledge about electricity, potential electrical problems may arise, leading to electrical fires.  

Electrical fire is one of the main reasons for fires in both residential and commercial properties. They can lead to death and injuries and cause significant damage to property for businesses. But you can always prevent electrical issues with the right practices. 

Besides seeking “electric companies near me” that can help you address electrical problems in a professional manner, today we’ll share strategies that certified electricians do to minimize electrical fires.

Electrical Fire at Commercial Projects & Establishments

Heard about the downtown Kelowna fire incident in December 2022, involving a business establishment being caught on fire? Based on the investigation by the Kelowna Fire Department, the cause of the mishap was an electrical fire. 

Good thing – the fire was put out swiftly, and the damage was limited to the actual area. There was only minor damage to their interior wall, and some smoke affected the inside of the building. 

This is just a sample of commercial electrical problems businesses could deal with. But we can prevent this by seeking industrial electrical services, hiring skilled electrical contractors, or partnering with the best company for commercial electrical services, like Mountain Point Electrical. 

As business owners, we must understand the causes of electrical fires and implement preventive measures to safeguard your business and ensure your employees and customers’ safety.

Electrical Fire Statistics

Did you know that electrical fires account for approximately 20% of all fires in Canada? According to the Canada Safety Training Center, electrical hazards are the leading cause of workplace fires. This statistic only highlights the prevalence and seriousness of electrical fires in commercial settings. 

Other notable electrical fire data include the following:

  • 87% of workplace electrical fires happen because of mislaid combustible material, overloaded machines, and electrical failure.
  • The Electrical Safety Foundation highlighted that home electrical systems are the third biggest reason for house fires.
  • Every year, about 51,000 fires happen in Canadian homes because of an electrical issue. These fires lead to nearly 500 deaths and over 1,400 injuries and cost about $1.3 billion in damages.
  • In the United States, more than 28,000 fires start because of arcing faults each year. These fires hurt and killed many people and caused about $700 million in property damage.
  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission explains that electrical outlets being involved in 5,300 fires yearly. These fires cause 40 deaths and over 100 injuries.

How Electrical Fires Start

Here are some of the most typical causes:

  • Wiring Issues

This can include exposed wiring, old wiring, mismatched wiring amperage, and wiring that doesn’t meet safety codes.

  • Outlets

Using the wrong type of outlet or plugging in too many appliances can lead to power failures, sparks, melting, and fires.

  • Extension Cords

Overloading extension cords can cause overheating and melting wires, creating sparks and starting fires. Placing them under carpets or running them through doorways, windows, or walls can also cause problems.

  • Space Heaters

Placing space heaters close to flammable materials like clothing or curtains, or connecting them to extension cords, can lead to overheating and fires.

  • Light Fixtures

Malfunctioning light fixtures or using bulbs with higher wattage than recommended can cause arcing, overheating, and fires.

  • Faulty Equipment

Faulty or damaged equipment in your workplace can lead to electrical fires if not fixed promptly.

  • Greasy or Dusty Equipment

Accumulated grease or dust on equipment can pose an electrical fire hazard, especially if there’s an electrical issue. Opt for regular cleaning and maintenance.

  • Static Electricity

Static electricity buildup, especially in cold and dry weather, can cause sparks that ignite flammable vapours, dust particles, or fumes, potentially leading to electrical fires.

Red Flags in Electrical Safety 

Keep an eye out for warning signs that could signal electrical problems. Here are some common red flags to watch for:

Red FlagsSigns of Electrical Problems
Extension CordsUsing extension cords for permanent devices means it’s time to call an electrician for proper wiring installation and fixtures.
Wiring IssuesBroken, frayed, or corroded wiring is a common cause of electrical fires. Look out for exposed outdoor wiring or corrosion, and watch for signs like flickering lights.
Blown Fuses/CircuitsBlown fuses and tripped circuits indicate overloaded outlets or circuits. 
Hot SpotsHot spots in your electrical panel can signal damaged wiring, loose connections, or faulty components, which can cause overheating and fires.

Professional Electrician Strategies to Avoid Businesses Electrical Fires

Below are some strategies recommended by expert electrical contractors:

Regular Maintenance Inspections

Schedule routine inspections by licensed electrical contractors, whether from residential electrical or commercial electrical services, to assess the condition of your electric systems and identify any potential hazards or issues.

Upgrading Your Electric Systems

Make electrical upgrades when necessary to meet current safety standards in electrical project and accommodate the power demands of modern equipment. Partner with a professional team of electricians in Vancouver for expert electrical work. 

Overload Protection

When doing electrical installations, don’t forget circuit breakers and surge protectors to prevent electrical overloads, which can lead to overheating and fire. If unsure, seek help from the best electricians in Vancouver, BC, for great suggestions.

Proper Wiring Installation

Ensure that highly knowledgeable electrical services, like electricians in Vancouver, British Columbia, perform wiring installations and comply with building codes to prevent numerous issues. Opt for reliable electricians in Vancouver to deliver commercial or residential electrical work.

Employee Training

Educate your employees on electrical safety practices, including recognizing warning signs of electrical problems and responding in an emergency, like restoring power, using a fire extinguisher, etc.

Fire Detection and Suppression Systems

Installing fire alarms, smoke detectors, and sprinkler systems are recommended to detect and extinguish fires promptly. It’s best to get help from a reliable electrical contractor for any electric installation to ensure quality and safety.

Key Areas to Consider During Electrical Maintenance

Here are the main areas to focus on:

AreaMaintenance Tips
SwitchboardInspect switchboards regularly for wear and tear, loose connections, or overheating, as faulty switchboards can lead to electrical fires.
Electrical PanelCheck control panels for any damaged or malfunctioning components and proper ventilation to prevent overheating.
EquipmentEnsure all electrical equipment is in good working condition, free from damage or defects that could pose a fire risk.
CablesInspect cables for any signs of fraying, exposed wires, or damage that could lead to short circuits or electrical arcing.
LightingRegularly inspect lighting fixtures for loose connections, damaged wiring, or overheating, as these issues can cause electrical fires.
AppliancesCheck all appliances for proper operation and any indications of damage or malfunction that could cause electrical fires.
BatteriesInspect battery systems for leaks, corrosion, or other damage that could lead to electrical fires, especially in backup power systems.

Be Safe and Hire Professional Electrical Services

You can protect your property as long as you’re fully aware of the causes and best practices to avoid commercial and residential electrical fires. This is also the time to realize how essential is to hire a professional for commercial or residential electrical work.

A licensed electrical contractor can ensure that all electrical repairs, installations, and maintenance meet safety standards and are up to code. Find the right “electric companies near me” to prioritize safety and leave the electrical work to trained electricians. Call Mountain Point Electrical for expert electric guides and advice. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I suspect faulty wiring or electrical issues in my property?

If you notice signs of faulty wirings or electrical problems, such as flickering lights, tripped circuits, or unusual odours, immediately turn off the power to the affected area and contact a licensed electrical contractor for inspection and electrical repairs.

How often should electric systems be inspected in commercial properties?

Electric systems in a commercial property must be inspected by a professional electrical contractor at least once a year for optimal safety. But generally, getting an inspection once every 3-5 years is fine.

What’s the primary rule for electrical safety?

The top rule for electrical safety is always to disconnect what you’re working on. This could be unplugging an appliance or turning off a circuit breaker. Disconnecting before any electrical work lowers the chance of danger.