Residential garage fires are very dangerous. These fires can destroy more than just your vehicles and belongings stored in the garage; they can destroy your home if they manage to enter it.
Here are some ways to prevent fires from breaking out in your garage. Also included are some ways to deal with garage fires if and when they occur.
Keep flammable items away from your garage
Garages usually contain all sorts of fire hazards most homeowners wouldn’t normally put in any other part of the home. All of them contribute to turning your garage into a dangerous place.
These items, like jugs of gasoline, turpentine, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), lighter fluid for your barbecue grills, cleaning products, paint cans, brake fluid, and more, are flammable. All of these can cause or worsen possible fires in your garage.
Make sure to store these items in recommended containers only, as they might damage unsuitable containers over time, leading to leaks. Also, make sure to place them in fire-resistant containers to prevent them from catching fire.
Place these items in a secure location within your garage, preferably a cool, dry place located a safe distance away from your garage door so that they won’t catch outside fire and won’t prevent you from escaping through the garage door when necessary.
Give your vehicles, machinery and equipment proper maintenance
Ensure proper maintenance of your car, machinery, and equipment. Proper maintenance will prevent fire hazards such as gasoline spills and oil leaks from happening.
Check your car for leaks and spills. Regular maintenance will not only help prevent your car from contributing fuel to garage fires; it will also ensure a smooth and enjoyable ride every time,
Make sure to store flammable liquids such as car brake fluid and car polish in fire-resistant containers.
Inspect your machinery and electrical equipment for exposed wiring and other damages. These might cause sparks that can lead to garage fires. Make sure to maintain your equipment properly.
Get a fire-proof garage door
Ìf your garage door is in bad shape or is old, it may not be capable of protecting your home from outside fires and, conversely, will not be able to prevent fires in your garage from spreading outside. Consider a garage door replacement in these cases.
Get a new garage door with fire-proof features that allow it to withstand fires. Such a garage door will feature heat-resistant materials, fire-resistant core, and protective resin coating. It will also have an automatic closing feature useful during fires.
When choosing a garage door, make sure to choose one (or more) that has been fire-rated to withstand fires for at least 20 minutes. Such a door has been tested and proven to withstand fires for a specified amount of time before breaking down.
Some garage doors, especially rolling fire doors used for commercial purposes, can withstand flames up to 3 or 4 hours.
Look for garage doors with UL Certification marks. These marks will assure you that the door has been tested to withstand high temperatures and fires.
Make sure you can pass through your garage door during fires
Your home needs to have emergency exit routes to help you and your family escape to safety in the event of a fire. Your garage door should be one of them.
Aside from placing flammable items away from your garage door, there are some more things you can do to make sure you can escape through it during fires.
Make sure to install fail-safe motorized garage door openers that will keep your garage door open during a fire. Also, make sure to have a manual opening system ready in case your motorized door opener doesn’t work.
Keep pathways to the garage door as clear as possible. Put your belongings and equipment away properly, and avoid placing obstructions that will block your way to the garage door.
Fire protection measures
Prevention is always better than a cure. If, after doing all that you can to prevent fires from breaking out in your garage, a fire still breaks out, certain fire protection measures will help mitigate damages and prevent fires from spreading.
Install smoke alarms and heat detectors in your garage. These devices will alert you of fires in your garage, helping you to act accordingly. Make sure to put fresh batteries in them every now and then.
Fire sprinklers will be helpful but might add to the problem if the fire is fueled by certain liquids. Having fire extinguishers within reach will be of great help.