What are the main causes of electrically ignited fires?

Electrically ignited fires in homes and buildings are often the result of technical defects. These defects often occur in the form of outdated, improperly installed or damaged electrical connections. Another common cause is the overloading of electrical circuits. In addition to these internal factors, external influences such as moisture, UV radiation and rodent bites can also lead to fires by damaging the insulation of cables and wires.

How high is the risk of an electrically ignited fire?

Statistics show that around a third of all fires in residential and other buildings can be attributed to electrical causes. This high figure emphasises the importance of regular inspection and maintenance of electrical installations. The danger posed by an undetected electrical fire is particularly high, as the fire can spread unnoticed and become a serious threat to the occupants and the building.

What are the first signs of an electrical fire?

The first signs of an electrical fire can be subtle and are often overlooked. These signs include unusual odours such as that of burnt plastic, frequent fuse failures, flickering lights, discoloured sockets or switches and the heating of electrical appliances or cables. These warning signs should be taken seriously and checked immediately to prevent escalation.

How can you protect yourself from electrically ignited fires?

The best protection against electrically ignited fires is prevention. This includes regular inspection and maintenance of electrical systems by qualified specialists. It is important to avoid overloading by limiting the number of appliances used at the same time and not overloading multiple sockets. The use of safety devices such as RCDs (residual current circuit breakers) can also help to minimise the risk. In addition, it is advisable to use electrical appliances from reputable manufacturers and to pay attention to warning signals such as overheating and unusual noises.

What role do smoke alarms play in early detection?

Smoke alarms play a crucial role in the early detection of fires, including electrically ignited fires. They can save lives by alerting occupants at an early stage, often before they can see or smell the flames. In many countries, smoke alarms are a legal requirement in residential buildings. It is important that these devices are regularly tested and their batteries replaced to ensure their functionality.

What is an arc fault protective device and how does it work?

An arc fault protection device, also known as an AFDD (Arc Fault Detection Device), is an advanced safety device used in electrical circuits to protect against the dangers of electric arcs. Electric arcs can be caused by damaged or ageing electrical wiring and equipment. The AFDD detects unusual electrical patterns that indicate an arc fault and automatically interrupts the flow of current to prevent a fire.

To what extent do AFDDs improve fire safety in buildings?

The installation of AFDDs significantly increases safety in buildings. These devices supplement conventional protective measures such as circuit breakers and RCDs by being specially designed to detect and prevent arcing faults. Arc faults are often responsible for fires that are not recognised in time by conventional safety devices. AFDDs can therefore help to further reduce the number of fires caused by electrical equipment.

Are AFDDs mandatory in residential buildings?

The regulations regarding the installation of AFDDs vary depending on the country and region. In some countries, they are recommended or even mandatory for new buildings or major renovations, especially in areas with an increased fire risk. Given their effectiveness in preventing electrically induced fires, it is advisable to be aware of local regulations and consider AFDDs to ensure an additional level of safety in residential and commercial buildings.

The integration of arc fault protective devices (AFDDs) into electrical systems provides additional protection against electrically ignited fires. These devices complement existing safety systems and provide an effective solution for detecting and preventing dangerous arcs. Although their installation is not currently required by law everywhere, their importance in modern building technology should not be underestimated, especially in view of the potential dangers that can emanate from electrical installations.