Did you know that an estimated 6,600 garage fires occur each year throughout the United States? Along with causing nearly $450 million in property loss, garage fires are sadly also responsible for an estimated 400 injuries and 30 deaths annually.
Thankfully, there are a few simple garage safety tips to prevent your garage and home from becoming one of these unfortunate statistics.
Electrical Safety Precautions
Often due to shorts in wires, damaged wires, and overloading electrical outlets, electrical malfunctions are the leading cause of garage fires in the U.S.
To help reduce the risk of a fire igniting in your garage, it’s important that you follow these simple fire prevention tips:
- Never plug more than one charger into an outlet.
- Don’t use extension cords when charging a battery in a charger.
- Ensure all flammable materials are stored away from major appliances (i.e. water heaters, clothes dryers, etc.).
- Routinely check that appliance air vents are not clogged.
- Never exceed the manufacturer’s recommended wattage for light fixtures.
Garage fires tend to spread more rapidly and are often more destructive than fires that begin in other areas of the home. This is largely due to the variety of flammable materials commonly stored in garages, such as oil, gas, propane, and paint thinner.
Fire safety experts recommend storing flammable products in a shed separate from the house and attached garage. If this is not an option, make sure to store all flammable liquids in clearly labeled, self-closing containers, away from any sources of heat or flame.
Install a Heat Alarm
When it comes to installing a fire detection system in the garage, experts recommend using a heat detector over a smoke detector. Unlike smoke detectors that can be triggered by fumes from a vehicle, dust, or even insects, heat detectors are only triggered by excess heat.
The most reliable heat detectors are hardwired into the electrical system of the house and have a backup battery in case the power goes out. Many heat detectors can even be connected to a home’s fire detection system, so that smoke alarms sound with the heat alarm.
Make sure to install your fire safety device away from fluorescent lamps, as these lamps can interfere with the functionality of the alarm.
Maintain a Functioning Garage Door
Whether you’re woodworking in your garage or painting your recently finished masterpiece, a properly functioning garage door will allow you to keep the area well ventilated from dust and fumes. Should a garage fire occur, a well-maintained garage door will help prevent additional oxygen from entering your garage and fueling the fire — possibly saving your home in the process.
Although there is no way to guarantee a fire will never occur in your garage, these tips will help significantly reduce the risk. For more garage safety and fire prevention tips, call the garage door specialists at Larry Myers. We look forward to speaking with you.