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Electrical Fires

No discussion of power is complete without a brief warning about fire. Electrical fires are uncommon in computers, but if one occurs, a technician must know what to do. If a fire occurs inside a computer or peripheral, unplug the equipment if possible, but do not put yourself in harm’s way attempting to do this. Use a Type C or a Type A-B-C fire extinguisher to put out the fire. Type C fire extinguishers are made specifically for electrical (Type C) fires. Type A-B-C fire extinguishers can be used for Class A, Class B, and Class C fires. Class A fires involve paper, wood, cloth, or other normal combustibles. Class B fires involve flammable liquids and gases. It is also a good idea to have a dry chemical 20lb ABC fire extinguisher in homes for the electronics (including computers) located there. Home computer equipment should be listed on the home insurance policy. Figure 4.37 shows a Type A-B-C fire extinguisher.

Figure 4.37

Figure 4.37. Type A-B-C fire extinguisher

When a fire occurs, pull out the fire extinguisher pin. Aim the fire extinguisher nozzle at the base (bottom) of the fire. Squeeze the fire extinguisher’s handle and move the nozzle back and forth in a slow sweeping motion. With electrical fires, the smoke is a breathing hazard. Burning plastics produce lethal toxic fumes. Always evacuate the people in the building and call the fire department.

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