How to Keep Your Children Safe Around Your Garage
When your child was born, you probably went a little crazy covering electrical outlets, locking kitchen cabinets and placing cleaning products high out of reach. Every parent knows the basics of childproofing their house, but when was the last time you thought about childproofing the garage?
It’s easy to overlook garage safety when you’re thinking about child safety. After all, it’s not like they play in there every day, right? If you haven’t considered your garage door to be a safety hazard, you aren’t alone. In fact, 82% of Americans admit that they tend to neglect maintenance and safety when it comes to their garage door.
The truth is that your garage — especially the garage door — presents a number of potential dangers for children. Just because their toys aren’t out there or their playroom is on the other side of the house doesn’t mean that their curious minds won’t lead them into the garage when you aren’t looking.
Garage Fire Safety Prevention and Protection Tips
Garage Fire Safety Tips
Though many homeowners spend time fireproofing their homes, it’s easy to forget about the garage. However, making your garage fire-safe is an essential part of protecting your family and your home from fire damage.
Garage fires are more dangerous and more costly than fires starting in other areas of the home. In fact, garage fires result in an average of 30 deaths, 400 injuries and $457 million in property loss every year in the United States.
Garage fires also tend to spread faster than other home fires, which makes it even more important to keep them from starting in the first place. Use these three garage fire safety tips to prevent fires and make your garage safer for you and the other members of your household.
1. Follow Guidelines for Electrical Safety
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, electrical malfunctions are the leading cause of garage fires. The best way to protect your home, then, is to stop a fire before it starts by doing the following:
- Install GFCI Circuit Breakers: Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) are usually installed in kitchens and bathrooms to protect people from electrical shock. However, you can also install them in your garage to prevent overheating and resulting fire.
- Avoid Extension Cords: Avoid plugging charging appliances into extension cords, since they can overheat.
- Plug in One Appliance at a Time: Overloading electrical outlets is a common cause of electrical fires. Prevent overloads by plugging in only one charging appliance at a time.
2. Store Flammable Materials Properly
Flammable materials commonly stored in garages include gasoline, aerosol cleaning products, lighter fluid, paint, paint thinner, propane and oil-based cleaning products. These tips can help you use these materials safely:
- Store Flammable Materials Away From the House: Flammable materials should be stored away from the home, in a shed if possible. If you must store flammable materials in the garage, be sure to keep them in approved containers, away from outlets and electrical appliances.
- Don’t Pour Gas in the Garage: You shouldn’t pour from portable gasoline containers while inside the garage. Instead, pour gas outside and clean up spills if they occur.
- Check Your Car for Leaks: Brake fluid and gasoline are both highly flammable. Keep your garage safe by periodically checking your car for leaks.
3. Design a Fire-Safe Garage
Elements of your garage’s construction can contribute to fire safety as well. Try these tips to design a fire-safe garage:
- Protect Connecting Walls: Install 1/2 inch gypsum board on walls that connect to the inside of the house and 5/8 inch gypsum board for ceilings under an occupied part of the house.
- Get a Heat Alarm: Heat alarms alert you to fire. They work better than smoke alarms in garages because they’re less sensitive to dust and humidity.
- Install a Fire-Rated Door: Choose a self-latching and closing fire-rated door from your garage to the inside of the house. This makes it harder for fire to migrate inwards.
- Choose a Garage Door With Fireproof Features: This prevents your door from catching fire and keeps fire from spreading outside, as well.
Prevent Fires With Blankenship
At Blankenship Garage Doors, we believe your garage door should be safe, as well as functional. If you’re hoping to fireproof your garage, we can help. Call Blankenship today for more information on our fire-rated garage doors.
Do I Really Need Garage Door Maintenance?
Many homeowners make the mistake of not having their garage doors and openers regularly inspected by a professional, which can lead to costly repairs and inconveniences — like being stuck outside of your garage or stranded inside of it. The garage door is likely the most accessed entrance of your home, and you want to ensure your garage door is working efficiently, reliably and safely.
To keep your garage door in pristine operational condition, garage door professionals recommend having a trained technician perform routine maintenance at least once every year. By having regular garage door maintenance, you can improve safety conditions, reduce and prevent repair costs and increase the life expectancy of your garage door, parts and hardware and garage door opener.
Is Garage Door Maintenance Necessary?
The short answer is yes. With regular maintenance performed by a professional once annually, you have the peace of mind of knowing your garage door is working smoothly and safely. By having preventative maintenance, you also benefit from:
- Cost Savings: On average, having maintenance tasks completed by a professional is less expensive than having frequent, last-minute repairs.
- Improved Safety: When a piece of hardware on your garage door breaks, it’s a safety hazard to yourself, your family and your possessions. Regular maintenance will ensure all safety mechanisms are working properly and that parts are less likely to fail unexpectedly.
- Longer Lifespan: Having a professional inspect all components of your garage door will extend the longevity of all parts and hardware. A technician can identify and replace parts that may be failing, improving the quality and operations of your door.
During our annual garage door tune-ups, we will check the springs for signs of wear or corrosion, tighten hardware, lubricate moving parts, remove debris buildup, inspect cables, check door balance and replace worn weatherstripping. As needed, your maintenance professional will make repair recommendations intended to ensure the safety and efficient operation of your door.
Why Can’t I Perform Garage Door Maintenance Myself?
While there are several preventative maintenance tasks homeowners can perform themselves to maintain the quality of their garage doors and openers — like clearing debris, tightening hardware, lubricating moving parts and noting unusual operational sounds — regular annual maintenance by a professional is important to ensure personal safety and thorough services. A trained and experienced garage door servicing professional has the knowledge to identify early signs of wear and tear and can recommend repairs to prevent hazardous and inconvenient future breakages.
Additionally, several components are incredibly dangerous to maintain without the proper tools and training. Garage doors are under an immense amount of weight and tension, and certain parts — like torsion or extension springs or cables — should be maintained by a professional to avoid personal injury or damages.
Contact Blankenship Garage Doors to Schedule Your Preventative Maintenance Check-Up
If you’re a homeowner in the Central Oregon area looking for comprehensive and knowledgeable garage door maintenance services, contact the experts at Blankenship Garage Doors today. We have more than 20 years of garage door maintenance, installation and repair experience, and we can service any make or model of garage door to ensure the safety and convenience of you and your family.
To learn more about our garage door maintenance plans or to schedule services, call us today at 541-383-2658 or fill out our online contact form to request information.