How to Avoid a Fire in Your Garage
According to FEMA reports, between years 2009 and 2011, there were 6,600 property fires that originated from the garage. The fires resulted in loss of $457 million worth of property, 30 deaths and 400 injuries. Garage fires can be fatal, not only causing damage to the garage, but to the entire home as well. When lives are lost, it is a sad and painful experience. Luckily, homeowner can easily prevent garage fires from happening by following the following steps.
Don’t store highly flammable products, gas cans, paints, oil, gasoline and propane tanks in the garage. You should create a shed away from your home and store them there. Dispose rags with flammable liquids in a trash can with a lid. If you intend to reuse them make sure that they are properly washed and dried before storing them in the garage. This will decrease the chances of your garage catching fire.
If you have any appliances (e.g. a fridge) in the garage, keep flammable products away from them. You can create a cabinet away from the appliances and store items that can burn there. Make sure the cabinet has a lockable door and keep it locked always.
When charging your appliances, plug each appliance into its own outlet. Don’t use an extension cord to charge an appliance. This applies for the garage door opener as well.
It is okay to store your fryers, grills and other cooking appliances in the garage. However, never use them inside the garage. Cooking appliances generate a significant amount of heat and this increases the risk of your garage catching fire. If it’s raining outside, create a temporary shed and do your cooking there.
After doing woodwork in the garage, always sweep off the sawdust. Don’t leave it lying on the floor.
You should always have a fire extinguisher in the garage. Check the expiry date regularly to ensure that it is not expired.
Investing in a smoke detector and heat alarm will help improve your safety. A heat alarm will sound when temperatures in the garage are too high. Heat alarms do not detect smoke but fire. Heat alarms can be connected to the property’s fire detection system. Smoke detectors can sometimes give false alarms, but still a good investment as it is better to be safe than sorry. False alarms from smoke detectors can be due to dust, fumes, insects, and changes in humidity and temperature.
Ensure that the electrical system in the garage is functioning properly. Electric malfunction is a leading cause of most garage fires today. You should ensure that the outlets, garage door opening systems and lighting are all in a good condition. If you suspect that there is something wrong with the system, call in an electrician to repair the issue. Electric malfunction can be due to damaged wires, shorts in the wires or overloading the electrical outlets.
If there is a door from the garage into the house, ensure that it is a 20-minute fire rated door.