Home & Work Safety

Emergencies

Fires and Burns

Call for help first.
Even if a fire seems small and non-threatening, call for help before you try to extinguish it yourself. When in doubt, get out and take others with you.

What to do for electrical fires:
If electrical equipment is involved, unplug it if you can do so safely, or turn off power at the main switch. Because water conducts electricity, throwing water on an electrical fire can cause the fire to get larger. It can also cause a shock hazard, as the electricity can travel up the stream of water to you. So NEVER use water on an electrical fire. Use a multipurpose fire extinguisher instead.

What to do for gas fires:
Natural gas fires are best extinguished by shutting off the source of the gas at the appliance supply valve or at the main gas valve. If you put out the gas fire with an extinguisher before the gas supply is shut off, the unignited gas could accumulate and explode.

If someone is burned, call 911.
If you are sure the victim is safely away from the fire and/or no longer in contact with electricity, give first aid as follows:
  • Cool minor burns with cold, running water. Don't touch the burn, break blisters or remove burned clothing. Cover minor burns with a sterile bandage.
  • If burns are severe, wrap the victim in a clean sheet and cover with a blanket until medical help arrives.
  • Always seek medical help for burns. With electrical burns, damage may not be immediately apparent.
Don't become a victim yourself! Make sure it's safe for you to help before attempting to put out a fire or give first aid for burns.