Keep Your Garage Safe from Fires

You Can’t Guarantee a Fire Won’t Happen, But You Can Take Steps to Prevent Them

You like this look? This garage door is an Eastman E-21, 9' x 8', Moka Brown doors and Ice White overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

You like this look? This garage door is an Eastman E-21, 9' x 8', Moka Brown doors with Ice White overlays, 8 lite Panoramic windows.

You can’t completely guarantee that a fire will never happen in your garage. Accidents happen every day and they can strike anywhere.

However, there are simple precautions you can take to push the odds of not having a fire in your favor. The first step is knowing the things that cause garage fires so you can safeguard your property. Keep reading for a list of the most common causes of garage fires.

A List of Potential Fire Starters in Your Garage

Knowing how to prevent fires in your garage starts with knowing what causes these fires. There are multiple items and situations that take place in the garage that can lead to a fire.

People often carelessly toss hazardous materials in the garage to be stored or thrown away without giving them much thought. Use this list as a guideline to do a walkthrough in your garage and fireproof the space.

Will this list guarantee you won’t deal with an emergency fire? There are no guarantees, but this type of knowledge can ensure you are more prepared.

Keep flames out of your garage for your safety. Image: Pixabay

Keep flames out of your garage for your safety. Image: Pixabay

Common Causes of Garage Fires

Finally, this is our list of the most common causes of garage fires. This list is in no particular order.

Your Vehicle

Most people would not think of their vehicle as a potential fire hazard in their garage. The truth is your car leaks hazardous materials from the engine and exhaust. These hazardous materials can easily puddle on your garage floor. When this happens, you’ve got a pool of fire-starting liquid spread across your garage floor. Clean up after changing your oil or spilling any other materials from your car during maintenance.

Welding

This might be another one most people wouldn’t expect to make the list. The hazard from this activity exists during and after the welding takes place. There are heavy sparks that are emitted during welding. These sparks can easily enter a box or some other paper material, where they can quickly turn into a fire.

Even after welding is done, there’s still a potential for fire. Tanks of flammable material are used during welding. If these tanks are kept in a hot garage, they can become more pressurized than they already are. This can lead to a potentially explosive situation. Whenever possible, leave these materials outside under a covered shed.

Water Heater or Boiler

Many garages contain a water heater or boiler for a home. These tanks can become incredibly hot, especially if they are being overworked. Flammable canisters of liquids and gases could ignite from the heat if they are too close to a water heater.

Anything with the potential to catch fire around heat sources should never be placed close to the water heater or boiler. There should be several feet between these water containers and all other materials.

Hazardous Liquids and Gases

Containers full of gasoline and other flammable liquids could be the number one culprit of garage fires. These containers are kept under pressure regularly. Add them to a hot garage with humid air, and you’ve got a recipe for a potential disaster.

The liquids don’t always have to be the gas-kind either. Things like glue and paint thinner fall under the category of flammable liquids. If it’s possible, keep these materials in the house out of reach of children. If your garage is air-conditioned, it’s still wise to keep them in a locked cabinet.

Faulty Wiring/Electrical Outlets

Wiring issues could pose a big risk of fire, especially if you live in an older house. Multiply this even more if your garage is attached to your home. Once a fire starts and gets into the wiring, it can easily spread to other areas of the property. These types of fires move with lightning-fast speed.

Regularly check your outlets for any type of damage. Don’t keep things halfway plugged in. Double-check to ensure that any appliances cords are firmly inserted into an outlet.

How Can I Avoid a Fire?

Now that you understand the situations that pose a potential risk of fire to your home and garage, now we can move on to the best ways to avoid these emergency fires.

● This may sound silly, but avoid using a fire pit inside of your garage. Believe it or not, this practice causes garage fires more often than we would like to admit. A garage is never a good place for a fire pit or any other open flames.

● Clean up after performing any maintenance on your vehicle. Never leave flammable byproducts from your car on the garage floor.

● Regularly inspect your outlets. Look for any signs of burning, such as black marks, or smoke.

● Declutter your garage as much as you can. Throw some things away if you need to. Tossing a few extra boxes could be worth it in the end if it lowers your risk of fire.

● Keep items away from water heaters or boilers. There should be at least 10 feet of space between heaters and other items in the garage.

● Make sure you keep all leaves out of the garage. While you’re at it, give the floor a good sweep as often as you can. Any dry material that enters your garage can potentially be flammable.

● Avoid using space heaters unattended in the garage. If your garage is a workshop, never leave a space heater without turning it off. Make sure you always use proper ventilation as well.

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Shaker-Flat CC, 9' x 7', Black, Clear windows.

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Shaker-Flat CC, 9' x 7', Black, Clear windows.

What to Do if You’re Faced with a Fire

If a fire does happen while you’re at home, try and remain calm. Follow these steps to keep you and your family safe.

Avoid fire trucks rushing to your location. Image by Pixabay.

Avoid fire trucks rushing to your location. Image: Pixabay.

1. Stay Calm, Assess the Situation

Remain calm and assess the situation. Is everyone accounted for? Is there anyone near where the fire originated?

Once everyone is accounted for, you can begin to take the next course of action. If the fire is small enough, you might have a chance to put it out.

2. Do You Need Emergency Workers?

Initially, you may be able to put a fire out if it hasn’t grown too large. If you have a fire extinguisher, you can use this safety tool to try and extinguish the flames. Never attempt to use water to put out a fire. Chances are, you won’t have enough at one time to have an effect. You could make the fire worse by throwing water on the flames.

3. Dial 911 From Safety

If you are unable to extinguish the fire, get to a safe spot with your family and dial 911. Do not attempt to enter the property to achieve any of your items. Do what the dispatcher instructs you to do and wait for firetrucks to arrive at the scene.

The Process to Replace a Garage Door

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.

You like this look? This garage door is a Standard+ Classic MIX, 9' x 7', Desert Sand.

Sometimes when fires are bad enough, you need to rebuild your garage. The insurance company will cover some of the damage sustained. The amount you are given by the insurance company depends on several factors. You’ll have to consider your budget before moving forward.

Once you have a firm idea of what you can spend, you can start thinking about the specifics. What size garage door do you need? Do you want to go with an attached or detached option for your new garage? Make your rebuild completely custom, even down to the type of garage door opener you want.

Consider how well you want the new garage and garage door to stand up to the elements. Do you want a new door that’s efficient at reflecting light? Maybe you have your utility bill in mind and want something that can stop the wind and eliminate drafts.

Time to Install a Brand-New Garage Door?

You like this look? This garage door is a Regal Shaker-Flat Long, 9' x 7', Black Ice, window layout: Left-side Harmony.

You like this look? This garage door is a Regal Shaker-Flat Long, 9' x 7', Black Ice, window layout: Left-side Harmony.

Contact Seacoast Overhead Door Inc. to get a free email quotation.

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