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Where there’s smoke, there’s fire … including your garage

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Nov 7, 2017 10:03:04 AM

messy-garage.jpgNow that fall is officially here, it's time to prepare your home for the cold weather like putting on the storm doors, cleaning your gutters, and tuning up the furnace. And don’t forget your garage! Did you know most garage fires occur in January and February?

According to U.S. Fire Administration, each year there are 6,600 garage fires in homes that result in an average of 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $457 million in property loss.

Electrical malfunction is the leading cause of garage fires. These fires start because of shorts in wires, damaged wires, and overloading of electrical outlets. Garage fires can spread farther, go undetected longer, and lead to more injuries and dollar loss than fires that originate in other areas of your home.

Wendy Wagner, senior personal lines underwriter, will share some safety tips for your garage or detached outbuilding.

 Safety Tips

  • Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane, and varnishes in a shed or outbuilding away from your home.
  • Keep flammable items away from appliances.
  • Plug only one charging appliance into an outlet.
  • Keep the garage tidy and remove clutter.
  • When you power appliances, please don't use an extension cord.
  • Avoid using carpets or rugs on the garage floor.
  • Refrain from filling portable gasoline containers inside your garage.
  • You can just install a heat alarm, rather than a smoke alarm. The heat alarm will sound if the temperature rises too high. Smoke alarms in garages can sound because of a change in temperature and humidity, as well as dust, fumes, and insects. Heat alarms are not affected by these conditions.
  • Do not use or install solid-fuel burning devices (wood, pellet, coal) in garages, workshops, or detached outbuildings and anywhere gasoline and other flammable vapors may be present. (Per NFPA code 211, location of Appliances 12.2.4 solid fuel burning appliances shall not be installed in any garage.)

Following these easy steps is a sure way to keep your home and possessions safe throughout the year!

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.

Topics: Fire Safety

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