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The risk areas for electrical fires in commercial buildings

  • Fire-risk characteristics that can be found in low-voltage (LV) main and secondary switchboards include: high intensity in normal operation, high short-circuit current, high density, bare busbar in compartments which create a T° rise concern, power connection issues and the possibility of internal arc faults.

    The control panel of a machine with a high number of connections, switches, auxiliary supplies, transformers and — in particular — variable speed drives, also needs to be carefully designed and manufactured to mitigate the risk of electrical fires.

    Schneider Electric’s solutions include:
  • An insulation failure between a line conductor and earth in – for example, dusty and humid environments – can lead to a low-intensity arc fault that the line conductor withstands, but remains high enough to start a fire. Some tests have shown that a fault current as low as 300 mA can induce a real risk of fire.

    A polluted and damp insulation surface can enable small electrical discharges, causing carbon deposits that increase conductivity. If the current leak exceeds 300 mA, the carbon deposits and insulation can quickly ignite and cause a fire hazard.

    To ensure your power and distribution circuits are protected against fire: Residual current devices (RCDs) can be effective in protecting against these hazards as they sense leakage currents below 300 mA.

    Schneider Electric offers a number of solutions in compliance with SS 638 and IEC 60947-2 (Annex B), including:
  • Final distribution and final circuits present the same risks as described in power and distribution circuits, but in addition, due to the quantity of connections, the low cross-section area and the type of cable installation method (less mechanical protection), the risk of damaged cables is higher than in power and distribution circuits.

    According to the international IEC60364 standards series and local related standards, the use of RCDs with sensitivity below 300 mA to protect against earth leakage current is recognized as effective protection against the risk of fire caused by insulation failure.  

    Schneider Electric produces three categories of RCDs – earth leakage add-on RCDs, RCCBs and RCBOs – that can be used in secondary and final switchboard installations:
Huge flames coming from a pallet factory on fire.

Electrical Fire Safety and Business Continuity

Watch our the recording of our Innovation Talk in February 2020!

Help prevent an electrical fire in your installation

Learn how to go above and beyond electrical installation standards. Our complimentary electrical fire prevention guide considers the risk of fire caused by electrical currents that fall below overcurrent protection thresholds. It focuses on the latest fire safety solutions to help mitigate such hazards in both new and existing installations in commercial buildings.

Explore fire prevention solutions and help enhance safety



Protect against short circuits, overloads and earth leakage with our world-class certified breakers. Deliver high quality performance for you and your customers.


Use a fire-resistant electrical busway system as a robust alternative to traditional wiring and cable trays, which are often exposed to open-air hazards.

Continuous Thermal Monitoring

Continuous Thermal Monitoring - Continuous thermal monitoring can offer a safer and more accurate way to detect electrical fire risks before they occur. Download the white paper to find out how thermal monitoring reduces risk of fire more effectively than IR thermography

Featured products and software

Discover energy management software

No matter your role, our software can help you gain visibility to mitigate electrical fires for your most important assets or facilities.

Consultants, Designers and Engineers

You are the first line of defense in electrical fire prevention. Discover our resources and tools to make more precise choices about products and systems when designing with electrical fire protection top of mind.


You must be able to ensure customers that their installation is dependable. Discover our resources and tools to better select, calculate, commission and operate for electrical fire prevention.

Panel Builders

You can ease your customers' peace of mind by implementing our products and solutions for fire prevention. Discover our resources and tools to select and build with confidence.

    Share your own story

    Continue the discussion in the Schneider Electric Exchange and share your thoughts about electrical fire prevention with peers and experts in energy management and automation.
  • Introducing EcoStruxure™ Power

    IoT-connected solutions ready to improve every aspect of your power distribution system. Take total control with real-time data and smart analytics for predictive maintenance.

    Think big. Partner up.

    The Schneider Electric Partner Program provides exclusive software, tools and educational resources you can use to stay on top of the latest trends and ahead of the competition.
  • Electrical distribution services

    Operate at peak performance safely and consistently with our expert care.

Can’t find what you are looking for?

Reach out to our customer care team to receive more information, technical support, assistance with complaints, and more.
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