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Steps to Avoid Fire Accidents in the Garage

Feb 17, 2022
There is no joking around when it comes to garage safety. As always, it is better to be safe than sorry. Garage fires cause more deaths, injuries, and dollar losses than fires that begin in any other part of your house. The numbers don’t lie. Every year, there are 6,600 garage fires in homes, which lead to 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $457 million in property loss. One- and two-family homes comprise 93 percent of these fires. The most common reasons for the fires are due to damaged wires, overloading electrical outlets, and shorts in wires.
What to do with wires
Secure the openings of wires, cables, vents, pipes, and ducts as they can be free passages of flame. Seal the openings with materials that resist flame and products of combustion. Make sure that you plug in only one charging appliance per outlet. And avoid using an extension cord when charging an appliance as this could be a tripping hazard with the long wires that snake around the garage. If you absolutely need to use more than one electric tool or appliance at the same time, it is advisable to add more outlets in the garage. And while it is more economic for now to just buy additional outlet adapters and extension cords, it will actually cost you more in the long run if your garage catches fire. Never forget to check if you have pulled the plugs on the electronics. Leaving them unattended is a big no-no. If the appliances or electronics are not being used, safely put them away from the items that can burn on shelves, and away from outlets or plugs. It is also better to bundle the cords and hang them in a garage hook. Fleximounts have a good offering of garage hooks that you can utilize. When working on a project that will make use of electronics, make sure to use appropriate safety equipment such as a pair of fire-retardant gloves, a welding mask, or any equivalent safety tools.
Fireproof away
Fireproofing the garage is a must. First off, the door or main entryway from the garage to your living space should be fire-rated. It prevents the spread of fire from reaching your living space for at least 20 minutes. This gives you ample time to evacuate immediately and secure other important documents. But always remember to save yourselves first before anything else, important documents included. A good fire-rated door should be at least one of the following: solid or honeycomb-core steel not less than 1 ⅜ inches, solid wood not less than 1 ⅜-inch thick, or 20-minute fire-rated equipped with a self-closing device. Also, note that there is no entryway that can directly access any of the bedrooms at home. The next area to fireproof is the garage flooring. While it is common to use garage floor carpeting and interlocking tiles, they do not give security when it comes to them being fireproof. These materials are susceptible and tend to collect all kinds of dirt such as debris, chemical spillage, and even deteriorate faster if exposed to automotive fluids and other fire hazards. In recent years, however, there have been improvements that offer fire-resistance such as synthetic fiber carpets, they still have not perfected the technology and thus, will not give you the protection and peace of mind that you seek. Instead, the most viable solution and option are to use epoxy garage flooring. Epoxy acts as a fire retardant as it resists the chemical absorption of substances like oil or grease. It is also scratch-resistant which makes it a highly durable surface. Moreover, epoxy is waterproof and non-slip, which reduces the chances of accidents in the garage. The walls should not be neglected as well. Install fire-resistant-rated walls that separate the garage from your home. Be not mistaken to call it a firewall as firewalls are mostly used for industrial spaces. If your garage has rooms located above it, use a type X gypsum board or equivalent that is not less than ⅝ inch. If the garage is just three feet away from your house but on the same lot, use a gypsum board or equivalent that is at least ½ inch to the interior side of exterior walls within the area.
Put away flammable liquids
Flammable liquids such as gasoline, paints, oil, varnishes, and propane should be stored in a shed far away from your home. This means that the garage, especially the ones that are attached to the main house, is not a proper storage of such liquids. Neither is your attic, just to be clear. However, as space can be very limited in our homes, we have no other choice but to store them in our garages. We have to take extra precautionary measures now that it is inevitable to have them placed in the area. The first thing that you should stay away from is storing them in boxes that easily catch fire like cardboard boxes. Instead, put them in a cabinet that is made of fire-rated materials such as gypsum, or coated with epoxy. Flammable liquids should be separated from other stuff that is needed on a more regular basis. The logic behind this is that since there are materials that you get and return to the storage more often, there is a greater chance of knocking over the flammable liquids’ containers accidentally. And you want to avoid any accidents as much as possible. Also, keep the flammable liquids away from power tools, electronics, parked vehicles, electric outlets, or anything that produces electric sparks. You can read on the label of the flammable materials precautions on the distance that it must be kept away from electronics. Make sure that the containers are also positioned in an upright manner to avoid spillage.
Other Measures
Aside from handpicking materials in the garage that have heat-resistant features, fire-resistant core, and protective resin coating, it is also important to keep your garage clean and tidy. The organization is key to garage safety, after all. Using a proper garage storage already avoids 50 percent of the potential risk of catching fire in the area. Utilizing wall shelf storage racks for your everyday items is advantageous for you as it is easy to reach. Also, it keeps things neat and organized. We recommend the Fleximounts WR Series Classic 2-Pack Wall Shelving The wall shelf is proven to be secure due to its buckle design with velcros that prevents the brackets from bending or falling, so you need not worry about the stability and safety of the items placed on the shelf. Moreover, all hardware has gone through strict tests. The WR Series is suitable for wood studs and concrete walls, which offers paramount compatibility. Included in the box are installation templates and all hardware that you need in installing the wall shelf. Installing the shelf is pretty easy with the step-by-step guide provided and can be done by anyone. The installation template provided aids in determining where to drill holes. In contrast, the bubble level guarantees that the shelf is installed in its perfect horizontal location. Other measures that you need to take are installing a fire alarm and fire sprinkler in your garage. At the first hint of smoke, these will be your first line of defense. Also, buy a fire extinguisher and place it where you can easily access in case of emergency, and mount it three to five feet above the ground. You can also install a red box casing for easier identification. Make sure to check the expiration date. Replace it even if you haven’t used it.