According to the U.S. Fire Administration, residential garage fires tend to spread faster than fires which start in another area of a home. Consequently, garage fires, which occur more often in January, December and July, cause more injuries and financial losses (per fire) than other home fires. Check out these tips to learn how to prevent fires in your garage:
- Store flammable substances, such as paints, gasoline, oil or varnishes outside the garage and home, preferably in a shed.
- Always keep items which can catch fire on high shelves and away from appliances that produce heat.
- Since electrical malfunction is the leading cause of garage fires, use electrical appliances or tools carefully.
- Plug only one charging appliance or major appliance at a time in a socket.
- When powering or charging appliances, avoid using extension cords.
- Install a heat alarm (rather than a smoke alarm) that will sound when it detects dangerously high temperatures. Make sure the alarm is interconnected with the rest of the alarms in your home. Check the alarms once a month and replace batteries once a year.
- Don’t fill portable gasoline containers inside your garage. Instead, choose an outdoor area and pour gasoline carefully to avoid spills.
- If you spill gasoline, soak it up with sawdust or cat litter. Throw the sawdust or cat litter in a safe container after the spill is fully absorbed.
- Avoid using carpets, rugs, non-fire-retardant tarps or cardboard on the garage floor, as these may absorb flammable liquids and cause a fire.
- Construction-related fire-proofing tips to consider:
- Install a ½-inch gypsum board wall if the wall connects your garage to your home.
- Install a ⅝-inch Type X gypsum board ceiling if there is living space above the garage.
- Install a self-closing and self-latching 20-minute fire-rated door that connects your garage to your house.
- Install an attic hatch cover if there is attic access from the garage.
For extra electrical safety, your garage should be equipped with GFCIs (ground-fault circuit-interrupters). If you’re doing outdoor work using electrical tools, follow these outdoor electrical safety tips. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.