My Blog

Garage Fire Safety

An attached garage is a garage which is physically connected to a home. Fires that begin in attached garages are more likely to spread to the living areas than fires that originate in detached garages. For this reason and the number of flammable materials stored in garages, attached garages should adequately be sealed off from living areas. An adequately sealed attached garage will ideally restrict the potential spread of the fire long enough to allow the occupants enough time to escape in the event of a fire emergency.

Why are all garages fire hazards?:

The following list refers to attached and detached garages whether residential or commercial:

-Oil or gasoline can drip from cars. These fluids may collect unnoticed and eventually ignite.

-Flammable liquids, such as gasoline, oil, and paint are liquids commonly stored in garages. Some other examples are brake fluid, degreaser, motor oil, varnish, lighter fluid, and fluids containing solvents such as paint thinner. These chemicals are flammable in their fluid form, and some may create explosive vapors.

-Heaters and boilers in garages can produce sparks that can ignite fumes or fluids. Car batteries can also spark under certain conditions.

-Mechanical or electrical building projects are often undertaken in garages. Fires can easily start while a careless occupant is welding near a flame.

Doors are the First Line of Protection:

The International Residential Code, (IRC) states the following concerning entries that separate garages from living spaces:

R3091. Opening Penetration “Openings from a private garage directly into a room used for sleeping purposes shall not be permitted. Other openings between the garage and the residence shall be equipped with solid wood doors not less than 1-3/8 (35mm) in thickness, solid or honeycomb core steel doors not less than 1-3/8 thick or 20-min fire-rated doors.”

Also, InterNACHI inspectors can check for the following while inspecting doors that separate garage and living areas:

-Although it is not required, it is helpful if there is at least one step leading up to the door from the garage. Gasoline fumes and other explosive gasses are heavier than air, and they will accumulate at ground level. An elevation increase will slow Their entry beneath the door.

-Doors that have tight seals around them help to prevent seepage of fumes into living areas of a home. Carbon monoxide can quickly rise above the base of an elevated door and leak through unsealed joints.

-Although it is not required, entries that are self-closing that leads to the attached garages are very recommended. They are safer than standard doors because standard doors can be left open causing a fire to spread more quickly.

-Pet doors should never be installed in fire-rated doors. Pet doors violate the integrity of the doors serving as a barrier to the spread of a fire.

Tips on Ducts:

Ducts within garages that penetrate walls or ceilings should also be constructed of a minimum No. 26-gauge steel sheet or other approved material, and should not have any openings in the garage.

-Dryer exhaust ducts that penetrate garage walls are dangerous fire hazards. Typically, these ducts are made of plastic and can easily melt during a fire, creating a substantial breach within the firewall.

General Safety Tips:

-Any flammable liquids should be stored in clearly labeled, self-closing containers, and only stored in small amounts. They should be away from heat sources, appliances, pilot lights, any other sources of heat or flame.

-Never store propane tanks indoors! If they catch fire, there is a severe risk for an explosion.

-Garage floors should be kept clear of clutter. Papers, matches, oily rags and other flammable items are dangerous fire hazards if they are thrown about the garage.

-Only use light bulbs with the proper wattage.

-Never overload electrical outlets.

-Tape down all cords and wires so that they are not accidentally pulled.

In general, there are many ways in which you can take preventative measures against the spread of garage fires to protect your home and loved ones. Give us a call today at 1-888-412-FIRE and find out how we can help you!

Fire FighterGarage Fire Safety

Related Posts