How’s your garage looking? Spotless, with a place for everything and everything in its place? If you’re like most of us, the answer to that question is no. Our garages are catch-alls for everything we have nowhere else to put. It’s important though, especially as the summer starts to heat up, that we take stock of what’s out there and what could potentially cause problems, such as a garage fire that could result in fire and smoke damage requiring the help of a fire restoration company.
According to FEMA, there are 6,600 garage fires resulting in 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property fire damage requiring fire restoration every year. The number one cause of garage fires is electrical malfunction, such as shorts in damaged wires or overloaded outlets and extension cords, so take a tour of your garage and eliminate these obvious fire hazards. But what about the other causes of fire and smoke damage? Let’s take a look at some other tips and tricks to avoid garage fires that might result in a need to call a fire restoration company, and keep your home and family safe all summer, and for the rest of the year too.
Fire prevention steps for all garage types:
- Be aware of where you’re storing flammables. Don’t store anything flammable, like gasoline, brake fluid, motor oil or lighter fluid on the floor or in open containers, and be sure to store them away from any heaters, pilot lights or appliances.
- Install a heat alarm. Smoke alarms are great, but they indicate that a fire has already started. High heat in your garage, especially if it’s not well insulated, can be an early indicator that a fire could potentially start. In this situation, a heat alarm can alert you to the situation, giving you the opportunity to open some windows or doors to air it out and bring the temperature down before a garage fire has a chance to start.
- Avoid a pile up. Don’t store newspapers, magazines, rags, blankets or other highly flammable items in the garage. If oil or gasoline spills on them, they can easily catch fire and cause significant fire and smoke damage.
- Keep your propane outside. Propane tanks should not be stored in the garage. If there is a fire, they can potentially explode, causing even more extensive fire damage. They’re sturdy enough to be stored outside, away from structures. Make sure the valve is always closed when not in use to prevent gas leaks.
- Clean up. Oil and gasoline can leak from under your car or from your lawnmower. Whether or not you mind a little mess, clean up oil and gasoline spills promptly as they can readily be a source of a garage fire if they build up, especially in hot summer months.
Extra fire safety for attached garages:
- Get a fire door. Have a self-closing, fire-rated door installed between the garage and the house. While it may not be as convenient to carry in groceries and other things with a self-closing door, it could save you from a garage fire that results in extensive fire and smoke damage throughout your entire home.
- Consider the placement of pet doors. Although It’s convenient to allow your pets to let themselves in and out between the house and garage, a pet door between the garage and the house also makes it easy for garage fires to spread quickly throughout the house.
- Get a hatch cover. If your garage has attic access, make sure it has a fireproof hatch cover. If a fire starts in your garage, it will have a free point of entry to your home from the open access panel and can quickly spread from your attic to the rest of the house, resulting in fire damage to your attic and roof that will require extensive fire restoration.
We’re all busy, but it’s important, especially in warm weather, to make sure that your garage isn’t a fire damage disaster waiting to happen. Taking a few steps now to be sure that your garage is a safe space for storing your things will ensure a long, happy summer of safety for your entire family.
While we hope that you never need our fire restoration services, we know the stress and mess that can be caused by fire damage. It’s good to know that the team of certified and trained fire restoration experts at Hays + Sons are just a phone call away, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With 140 employees, 120 vehicles, and eight separate locations, Hays + Sons has you covered.