October 7-13 is Fire Prevention Week and we are focusing on learning more about how and where garage fires start.
A fire in your home can be a devastating occurrence and your garage is no exception. While garage fires comprise only 2% of all residential structure fires, totaling approximately 6,600 fires each year, these fires cause an estimated $457 million in property damage and loss. Fires originating in the garage typically spread farther and cost more than fires originating inside your home. Luckily, there are some easy things you can do to protect yourself and your home from a garage fire.
One reason a garage fire can be so destructive is due to the fact that very few garages have smoke alarms. Nearly 40% of garage fires spread from the garage to the surrounding area and attached home. Whereas, only 21% of fires originating inside the home spread out of the room of origin. This significant difference results in much higher property damage costs for garage fires.
The severity of a garage fire can be directly linked to the contents of that garage. Lower your risk of a severe fire by keeping flammable or combustible chemicals away from heat sources. Paint, cleaners, and gasoline should be kept on high shelves. This not only protects them from direct heat sources such as space heaters and car engines but keeps your family safe as well. Other items stored in the garage should be kept in plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes.
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Causing over 16% of all garage fires, “electrical malfunction” is the leading cause of garage fires. Electrical fires can start from damaged plugs and lights or faulty wiring. If your garage has experienced flooding, there could be electrical wiring damage inside your ceiling or walls. Whether you’re installing a new garage door opener or rewiring to convert your garage to a living space, it’s important to hire a proper technician for any wiring needs rather than trying a DIY approach.
If you use your garage to work, play, or live in, remember to turn off fans, window A/C units, dehumidifiers, and space heaters when you leave the area. Never, ever leave an open flame (such as citronella candles) unattended. Accidental ignition from open flames accounts for 11% of garage fires annually. Don’t forget to keep your water heater up to date, too with regular inspections and maintenance. Both electric and gas water heaters have the potential to start a fire.
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Keeping your garage in maintained and in top shape is vital to the continued safety of your home and family. A well-functioning garage door and opener can directly impact the fire safety of your home. If you are dealing with a fire in your garage, try to open one or more of the garage doors. This will help release smoke and flames from your garage and keep them from heading into your home. Smart openers can be used remotely on your phone and may help give access to firefighters in an emergency. Technology keeps advancing to keep you safe and new smart home systems with security cameras in the garage can help you spot a fire before it gets out of control. Check out our smart openers online.
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A garage fire can be devastating to your entire home. Keep your family and belongings safe by making sure you follow all building codes and keep your door and opener in proper working condition. If you doubt the safety of your garage, have a new garage door and a smart opener installed. Call Sears Garage today for a 20 point safety inspection and a tune-up or a free estimate on a new garage door. 866-425-6103.
Statistics from: https://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/statistics/v14i12.pdf