Can You Put Out an Electrical Fire with Water? Exploring the Dangers and Safer Alternatives

No, using water to extinguish an electrical fire is not recommended. Water conducts electricity, increasing the risk of electrocution and potentially spreading the fire. 

It is safer to use appropriate fire extinguishers designed for electrical fires, such as dry powder or carbon dioxide extinguishers.

Through this article, you will get to know why it is not wise to use water to put out electrical fires.

What Happens When You Use Water In Electrical Fire?

What Happens When You Use Water In Electrical Fire

Employing water during electrical fires can lead to disastrous consequences. Let me describe what happens when you use water in electrical fire:

Conductivity and Electrocution Risk

The fundamental reason why water should never be used to extinguish an electrical fire lies in its conductive properties. Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, meaning that it allows electric current to flow through it. 

When water comes into contact with live electrical components, it forms a path for the electricity to travel. This can lead to severe electrical shock or electrocution not only for the person handling the water but also for anyone nearby.

Escalation of Fire

Another perilous consequence of using water in an electrical fire is the potential to escalate the blaze. When water contacts energized electrical equipment or wires, it can cause a short circuit. 

The increased current flow due to the short circuit can create intense heat and even ignite nearby flammable materials, causing the fire to spread rapidly.

Water Damage

In addition to the electrical risks, using water in an electrical fire can result in significant water damage. Water may cause harm to electronic devices, machinery, and other electrical equipment, leading to costly repairs or replacements. This added damage can prolong business interruptions or exacerbate personal losses.

Steam Generation

When water is applied to an electrical fire, it rapidly evaporates and turns into steam due to the intense heat generated by the electrical equipment. This sudden steam generation can lead to the dispersal of hot gases and burning particles, further escalating the fire and endangering those in the vicinity.

Risk to Firefighters and Bystanders

Introducing water into an electrical fire not only endangers the individuals attempting to extinguish the fire but also puts nearby firefighters and bystanders at risk. If the water becomes electrified, it can create a hazardous environment in which anyone in contact with the wet surfaces may suffer from electric shock.

Creation of Toxic Chemicals

In certain situations, water can react with substances involved in the electrical fire, leading to the formation of toxic chemicals. For instance, when water contacts burning metals, it can produce flammable hydrogen gas, adding another layer of complexity to the firefighting efforts.

How To Put Out Electrical Fire?

Putting out an electrical fire requires specific precautions and appropriate tools to ensure safety and effectiveness. Here are the steps to safely extinguish an electrical fire:

Cut Off Power Source

The first step is to cut off the electrical power supply to the affected area, if possible. This action helps prevent the fire from being fueled by electricity and reduces the risk of shock for anyone attempting to control the fire.

Use a Class C Fire Extinguisher

Class C fire extinguishers are specifically designed to combat electrical fires. They contain non-conductive agents like dry powder or carbon dioxide that can effectively smother the fire without posing an electrical shock hazard.

Maintain Safe Distance

Stand at a safe distance from the fire while using the fire extinguisher. Avoid direct contact with the flames, smoke, or any exposed electrical components.

Sweeping Motion

When using a fire extinguisher, employ a sweeping motion while aiming at the base of the fire. This technique helps to smother the flames and prevent the fire from reigniting.

Evacuate If Necessary

If the fire is spreading rapidly or becomes uncontrollable, prioritize your safety and evacuate the area immediately. Close doors behind you to contain the fire and prevent it from spreading further.

Call For Help

Even if you manage to control the electrical fire, it is essential to call the fire department to inspect the area and ensure that there are no hidden hot spots or potential hazards.

How To Prevent Electrical Fire?

How To Prevent Electrical Fire

Electrical fire can spread really fast and can be very dangerous. You should take the following steps to protect your place from the ignition of electrical fire in the first place.

Regular InspectionsSchedule periodic inspections of electrical systems and equipment to detect and address any potential issues or hazards.
Avoid Overloading CircuitsBe mindful of the power load on circuits and avoid plugging in too many devices, which can lead to overheating and fires.
Proper WiringUse qualified electricians for proper wiring installations, ensuring compliance with building codes and safety standards.
Check Extension CordsInspect extension cords regularly for fraying or damage, and avoid running them under carpets or in high-traffic areas.
Replace Damaged CablesPromptly replace damaged cables, cords, or outlets, as they can pose fire risks if left unattended.
Keep Combustibles AwayKeep flammable materials, such as paper, curtains, or furniture, away from electrical equipment and outlets.
Unplug Unused DevicesUnplug devices when not in use to reduce the risk of overheating and potential electrical malfunctions.


So, now you know, attempting to put out an electrical fire with water is extremely hazardous and should be strictly avoided. Water’s conductivity can lead to electrocution, fire propagation, and equipment damage. 

Instead, use specialized fire extinguishers suitable for electrical fires to ensure safety and effectiveness.

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