Fire Safety Tips For Your Garage Workshop

The garage is an ideal place for a workshop in most homes – it’s close to the house, ventilated to the outside via a large door, and has a resilient floor where stains aren’t a concern. Putting your shop in your garage can also pose a fire hazard. Many of the tools and supplies used for workshop hobbies, such as auto repair or carpentry, are highly flammable. Since garages are usually attached or near your house, a fire can quickly spread and cause a disaster. The following tips will help keep your garage workshop safe.

Tip #1: Clear the Clutter

Clutter fuels a fire if one gets started, and too much clutter in your garage shop can also be the cause of the fire. For example, if your hot water heater is in your garage, make sure you keep the space around it free from boxes, rags, and other items. Garage dryer vents need frequent cleaning – you don’t want highly combustible lint in an area where you are using tools that may throw off sparks.

Keep your garage clean and relatively organized. Toss old papers and boxes, store items on shelves, and sweep out dirt, leaves, and sawdust regularly.

Tip #2: Store Volatile Chemicals Correctly

Nearly any workshop hobby will use a few volatile chemicals whether it’s paint thinner or extra fuel. It’s best to store these in a metal cabinet, which can prevent the chemicals from igniting or at least help contain the flames if one does combust.

Keep lids on chemical containers, and make sure that they are locked up if children are around that may get into them. Don’t place the cabinet near any heat sources, including space heaters or hot water heater pilot lights.

Tip #3: Manage Your Shop Rags

Shop rags are sometimes the culprit behind garage fires. These rags may be soaked with flammable materials, whether it’s grease or wood stain. When piled in a corner, all it takes is a bit of heat or a small spark to send them up in flames. In the case of some wood finishing oils, like linseed, they may spontaneously ignite as they dry, without any outside heat or spark. Store these in a metal can filled with water until you can dispose of them properly. Even if your rags aren’t so quick to catch flame, it’s still a good idea to store them in a metal coffee can or similar until you are ready to clean or toss them.

Tip #4: Install Safety Equipment

Finally, install the right safety equipment. A fire alarm is a must. Make sure it is loud enough to hear it clearly inside the house, otherwise it can go unheeded until it’s too late. If you have a monitored security alarm service, make sure the smoke detector in your garage is also being monitored.

Check your smoke detectors twice annually, such as at the fall and spring time changes, and replace the batteries at least every two years. Another option that can bring peace of mind is to install a fire sprinkler system in the garage. This way a fire is unlikely to spread even if one is sparked. For more help with fire alarm systems, contact companies like GMW Fire Protection.



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