If you’re like most homeowners, your garage is multi-purpose. (That’s probably why insulated garage door installation is so popular — people aren’t just storing cars, but actually using their garages as living spaces.)
Many people also use their garages for storage. But a mass number of items, especially when it comes to flammable and other hazardous materials, poses a serious fire safety issue. There are nearly 6,600 fires in residential garages every year, resulting in nearly $457 million in property damages, 30 deaths and 400 personal injuries.
And since garages are in compacted and enclosed spaces, the danger is more pronounced — fires can spread with greater destruction and deadly force than anywhere else in a home.
To prevent fires, establish proper safety routines — especially when it comes to the safe storage of potentially flammable materials.
Never Store Flammable Materials in Your Garage
Avoid storing highly flammable materials in your garage, including gas cans, propane tanks, paints and varnishes. It’s better to store these items in an unattached shed, not in a garage that may have a potential heating source.
One Appliance Per Outlet
Avoid plugging more than one appliance — such as refrigerators, furnaces and hot water heaters — in an outlet. Don’t use an extension cord. Overheated outlets can cause a fire. In fact, burned out outlets are the most common cause of fires in American homes.
Also, make sure to keep all appliances, lights and outlets maintained.
Professionally Inspect Your Garage
Have a professional inspect your garage for any fire safety issues. Make any necessary upgrades when it comes to safety codes. These codes are in place for a reason. Even for a residential home, proper adherence to safety code is a must. Hire an electrician to give you a personal inspection.
Install a Functional Heat Alarm & Sprinkler System
Install a functional heat alarm that comes complete with battery backup and smoke alarm interconnectivity. It should be rated for temperatures between 175 and 250 F. Also regularly check your smoke alarms in your garage.
Make sure you have a functional sprinkler system in your garage. Many fires happen in the middle of the night where you might not be aware of a fire until serious damage is done.
Keep Your Garage Door in Great Repair
Finally, make sure your garage door is functional and in great repair. If a fire does occur, you’ll need to be able to open your garage door for ventilation.
If you are considering installing a new garage door, consider a fire rated garage door. This is especially handy given the current wildfire crisis in California, El Dorado Hills in particular. Be safe!