How to Protect Your Home From Garage Fires
Picture this. You wake up in the middle of the night and the smell of smoke fills your nose. The smell of smoke can only mean one thing, something is on fire. Frantically, you try to gather up all of your family members in the house to make sure that everyone gets to safety. Once you’re in a safe place, you realize that the source of the fire is your garage, which unfortunately is attached to your house. This is a worse case scenario for many people and not all that uncommon. FEMA reports that from 2009-2011, an estimate 6,600 residential buildings caught fire from fires originating in attached garages. These fires caused an estimated 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property damage; accounting for an estimated 2% of all residential fires from 2009-2011. Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to greatly reduce the risk of your garage catching on fire leading to destruction. You can find some helpful tips here.
As a garage door repair company, we are especially aware of the many factors that contribute to a garage fire. In fact, just a few years ago, there was a national recall issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for Genie Garage Door Openers due to the control board overheating and posing a fire hazard. Staying up to date on manufacturer recalls is just one of the many steps that you can take to minimize the risk of your garage catching fire. Below are some tips for preventing garage fires.
Garage Storage Safety
- Before putting away any gasoline-powered tool, make sure to let it completely cool down. Do not store them anywhere close to anything that is combustible. When storing lawn mowers, do not store them with dry grass clippings caked on as this material can ignite quickly.
- Store any flammable liquids or combustibles in a metal cabinet with a closed door such as gasoline, wood finishes, cleaners, chemical solvents, or spray paint.
- Do not store combustibles near a heat source.
- Never use grills, fryers, or any other cooking appliance that generates significant heat inside of your garage.
Use Safe Working Practices
- Properly dispose of any rags that have flammable liquids on them in a steel bucket or trash can with a lid. If you wish to re-use them in the future, wash them out the best that you can and hang them out to dry away from any heat source.
- Do not leave sawdust laying on the floor of your garage or on a workbench.
- Make sure to seal any pain canisters, solvents, or other flammable liquids before putting them away.
Safety Equipment & Miscellaneous
- Make sure you have a fire extinguisher in your garage and that it is expired
- Having a smoke detector is also a huge plus. There may be some false alarms, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Most importantly, make sure that your electrical system in your garage is functioning properly. The leading cause of garage fires is electrical malfunction. This includes outlets, lighting, and garage door opening systems. If you suspect that you may have a problem with your electrical system in your garage, consult with a professional electrician to diagnose and repair the problem. If your garage door opener appears to be getting too hot or is not functioning properly, contact a garage door repair company to help diagnose and fix the problem.