Is Your Garage Safe?
Americans suffer nearly 21 million preventable household injuries each year, and many of them occur in the garage. That’s because most of the 65 million U.S. garages are cluttered, disorganized and potentially unsafe!
Nearly all homeowners have at least one potentially dangerous item in the garage, including sharp tools and chemicals. What you may not know is that many of the chemicals stored in the garage are highly flammable – and may even be susceptible to spontaneous combustion. If not stored properly, gasoline and oily rags containing linseed oil or turpentine oil can be fire hazards.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the garage is the most common area of origin for home structure fires (20 percent of fires), and oily rags were the most common item to ignite first.
To help you safely store household items that may be flammable or combustible, here are some important safety tips from the NFPA
- Store gasoline in a tightly sealed metal or plastic container that has been approved by local or state fire authorities or an independent testing laboratory. Never store it in glass jars or non-reusable plastic containers such as milk jugs.
- Do not use or store gasoline near possible sources of ignition.
- Fill portable gasoline containers outdoors only, and place the container on the ground before filling.
- Keep rags that have absorbed oils, such as linseed oil or turpentine, in a covered. metal can with a tight-fitting lid.
- Be sure the oily rags are thoroughly dried before collection or transport.
- Make sure pesticides, paint thinner, antifreeze and poisonous products are stored on high shelves out of reach or in locked cabinets.
- Mount a fire extinguisher & first aid in the garage.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector rated for the garage.
- Install a smoke alarm.
Sources: MN Safety Council