4 ways to prevent garage fires

Garages can often be overlooked when it comes to house fire prevention, but garage fires can cause serious damage once they reach the structure of your home. Most of them can be caused by faulty wiring or electrical systems, improperly stored flammable liquids, or car engines or batteries overheating. What makes garage fires a little more dangerous is that they can often go undetected for longer than fires that start in other rooms of your home, which means they can also cause more damage. Paying close attention to the way you store things in your garage will go a long way in preventing these fires in the first place. Here are four ways to prevent garage fires.

1. Garage storage

  • If possible, don’t store flammable items like paints, gas, propane, or oil in the garage; if you have a shed a good distance away from your house, this is a better place to keep these items. Either way, make sure they’re kept in their proper storage containers. If you’re unsure about how the item should be stored, check out the product’s label or reach out to the manufacturer for more info.
  • Store any items that can burn up on shelves away from big appliances.
  • Remove things like wood shavings, oily rags, paper products and garbage on a regular basis.
  • Keep the garage well-organized and clean; don’t allow items and boxes to pile up and become cluttered.
Tip: While cleaning your garage, it’s also a great opportunity to create a current list of the items stored there. It’s important to take inventory of anything in your garage (and home), because if you do have to make a claim, you’ll need to provide proof of ownership.

2. Electrical systems

  • Update your wiring if it’s an outdated system (like knob and tube) or damaged.
  • When using or charging appliances that have to be plugged in, make sure they’re plugged directly into a wall socket (avoid using extension cords or power bars).
  • Only plug one appliance in at a time to help prevent an electrical surge.

3. Car safety

  • If you park in the garage, pay close attention to anything that can overheat; this can include the engine, car batteries, or the heating system (including heated seats).
  • Some car fires can start more easily in the winter – people tend to use things like car battery blankets to keep everything under the hood warm.
  • Keep your car well-maintained and stay up to date on any recalls or incidents involving vehicles of the same make and model.

4. Extra fire safety precautions

  • Install a fire extinguisher near the door leading into your garage that matches the type of fire that could occur. Different fire extinguishers are made for different types of fires, which makes it important to have the right one to put out a fire quickly and safely.
  • Install a heat alarm in addition to a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms can pick up things like dust in your garage, whereas a heat alarm will detect if the garage reaches a dangerously high temperature. You can actually connect this alarm with other alarm systems in your home.

Are my personal belongings stored in the garage or shed covered for fire damage?

Fire damage is included in your standard home insurance policy, even for damage to items stored in your garage or shed. Take the time to check out your home policy to make sure that your personal belongings limit is enough to cover all of your possessions.

Protect your home and the things you love most.