You cherish that lamp that your grandmother gave you before she died. That, along with other precious heirlooms, are things you don’t want to store away — you want to use them. These things are old, though, so they may have outdated electrical components or even frayed wiring. This poses a real fire hazard. You notice the cords on your family heirloom lamp are smoking, then suddenly the piece bursts into flames. What do you do? Here are some steps to take.
For a small lamp fire:
- Use a class C fire extinguisher to snuff out the flames.
- Small fires can be put out with salt or baking soda.
- You can also use a heavy material such as a blanket to extinguish a small fire.
- If you can safely unplug the lamp that is causing the fire, do so immediately.
If the fire has spread:
- You and anyone in the home should exit immediately.
- Close the door behind you to keep the fire contained.
- Get a safe distance from the fire and call 911.
Never use water to put out a lamp fire or any fire when electricity is involved. This could lead to electrocution.
While any fire is devastating, lost lives can’t be replaced. Don’t try to bring the hot heirloom lamp with you. Leave it behind. Be sure you exit safely from the premises.
Inspect the Piece Before Using
Be proactive now about fire safety. Electrical fires are dangerous because they often go undetected before it’s too late. Fires can be triggered by overloading the circuit, causing the wires to get too hot. Be sure your home’s electrical panel is up to code and avoid overloading outlets by plugging in several cords at once.
Another culprit could be having the wrong bulb installed. Check the make and model of your lamp to ensure you have a bulb that is the right size. Otherwise it could cause the components to overheat and possibly spark a fire.
Upgrade Older Electronics
If you have inherited something like an old lamp, take it to a repair shop for an upgrade. Small electrical repair centers can rewire outdated components and install a brand new system to ensure proper safety standards are being met. This will greatly reduce the risk of a sudden, unexpected fire.
Be sure you have working fire alarms installed in your home. In addition, take the time to have all of your priceless antiques and family collectibles appraised and insured. While it can’t replace the item itself, it can help you recoup the cost of replacements. Fires are devastating and dangerous. Knowing what steps to take and thinking fast on your feet can help turn the situation around.
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