Garage fires are a significant concern for any homeowner, often starting unnoticed and causing damage to not only the garage but potentially the entire residence. The necessity to maintain a fire-safe garage is crucial, implementing preventive measures and standards to mitigate the risk. This article focuses on actionable strategies every homeowner can apply, and the importance of professional inspection services in maintaining a fire-safe barrier between the garage and the rest of your home.
But first, why do garages commonly present a fire risk?
It’s common for garage spaces to host various activities such as welding and car maintenance, involving multiple flammable elements. Home appliances, like water heaters and boilers, often reside in garages, posing a danger due to possible spark generation. Further, car batteries may also precipitate sparks in specific circumstances.
Commonplace flammables like oil, gasoline, paint, varnish, and lighter fluid frequently accumulate in garages, often trickling unnoticed from cars or appliances. Without proper handling and storage, these elements can cause devastating garage fires.
To prevent the occurrence and spread of garage fires, consider these tips:
Garages with attic access should be appropriately covered with a secure hatch.
Ensure the walls and ceiling are constructed with fire-rated materials. Only a certified InterNACHI inspector can accurately assess and confirm their adequacy.
Keep your garage floor free from clutter. Elements like loose papers, oily rags or other potential fire risks should be well-stored or disposed of for safety.
Use light fixtures rated for the right wattage and avoid overloading electric outlets.
Secure any cords or wires.
If your garage is connected directly to your home via a door, follow these recommendations for added fire safety:
One significant change is avoiding pet door installation in this portal. Flames could easily spread through pet doors, especially if they’re plastic.
Ensure any windows within the door are fire-rated.
The garage-house door should be self-closing to hinder fire spread – left-open doors can prove disastrous during a fire.
Check door joints and spaces. Effective sealing blocks dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide or gasoline vapor from infiltrating your home.
Moreover, be mindful of flammable liquids – store them in clearly marked, self-closing containers. Keep them away from appliances, heaters, or any other heat source. Propane tanks stored indoors can be particularly hazardous and are better suited for outdoor storage.
In conclusion, though multiple steps can actively prevent garage fires or stop their spread, we highly recommend regular professional inspections as the most effective strategy for ensuring a safe and fire-free garage.