How To Minimise Fire Hazards In Your Garage

Tuesday 31st October 2023

Ellen Warren

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A well-organised garage

CONTENTS

Your garage could harbour hidden dangers, from flammable liquids to overloaded sockets. Understanding and managing these risks can prevent the worst-case scenario, which includes safely storing petrol or paint, implementing electrical safety measures, and removing hazards.

At ICE Cleaning, we specialise in fire damage cleaning services, ensuring your property is clean and safe after a deadly fire. We utilise modern tools and industrial-grade solutions to effectively restore your property and scrub the air, making it safe and habitable again.

Read on to learn how regular inspections and maintenance can prevent a fire in your garage.

Why garages require fire safety protection

Garages can harbour many fire hazards, often unnoticed until it is too late. Recognising these dangers is the first step to prevention, and unfortunately, flammable materials like paint and gasoline are common causes of garage fires.

Storing combustible substances improperly could lead to a deadly fire, so you must ensure they are stored in a cool place, away from heat sources or sparks that might ignite fumes.

Old wiring or overloaded circuits from using tools or broken equipment pose significant risks. It is integral to have your electrical system checked by a professional often as part of your preventative measures.

Cluttered spaces are common in garages, but this element can increase the speed of a growing fire. Keeping the area tidy will limit fuel for potential fires while improving visibility and accessibility in an emergency.

Safe storage practices for flammable materials

Flammable materials, such as petrol and paint, are often found in garages. Safe storage of these substances is vital to prevent fires. An integral safety measure is storing them in approved containers.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides detailed guidelines on the safe storage of flammable liquids. They recommend keeping quantities small, with large amounts stored outside or in a dedicated fire-resistant cabinet.

Poor ventilation can also be a hazard because it allows fumes from volatile substances to build up. So, ensure your garage has good airflow to disperse any potential vapours safely.

Avoiding clutter can help - having an untidy space makes it harder to spot spills or leaks promptly. Alongside regular checks for damage or wear on containers, you must dispose of clutter you no longer need and ensure the storage containers are suitable.

Electrical safety precautions in garages

The garage is a common site for electrical mishaps due to various power tools, charging equipment, and poor lighting. A broken light or exposed wiring could be an accident away from a devastating fire.

Avoid overloading sockets; it can cause overheating and potentially ignite a fire. Instead, use an approved multi-socket extension lead if you need more outlets. Remember to regularly check your wiring, as frayed cords or damaged plugs are dangerous fire hazards. 

Additionally, having the correct insulation around any exposed wires is crucial. This can help stop electric sparks that might set fire to flammable materials close by.

Fireproofing your garage

Your garage is home to various fire hazards, but with careful attention and the correct measures, you can significantly reduce the fire risk. Some steps to consider when fireproofing your garage include:

  • Installing a fire-rated door that offers resistance against fires for a specified period. Installing one between your house and garage is most effective.
  • Incorporating fire-resistant materials like gypsum board or specially treated wood during construction or renovation helps limit the spread of flames.
  • Smoke detectors, when properly installed and maintained, provide early warning signs that let you act quickly.

Identifying a fire hazard in your garage demands immediate action. Ignoring it could result in terrible destruction or even fatalities. If you are qualified, you can fix the problem yourself, but you must have a team for help. 

For instance, in the event of a gasoline leak, you must immediately move any heat sources away from it while wearing safety gear. Having assistance on-site can help make this quicker and prevent any accidents.

Regular inspection and maintenance of garages

Preventing garage fires starts with regular inspections. By remaining vigilant for potential fire hazards, you can take early action to fix any issues.

You should check your electrical systems regularly. Any damaged wires or overloaded circuits need immediate attention as they pose a significant fire risk. We would recommend getting professional help if needed by hiring a qualified electrician.

The storage of flammable materials is another area that needs careful monitoring. Ensure these items are stored safely away from ignition sources and follow guidelines as provided by the Health & Safety Executive.

Ensure the cleanliness of your garage walls and doors is maintained to stop a minor blaze from quickly escalating. Garage doors and walls must be kept in good condition to stop a fire from rapidly spreading.

How to react in the event of a garage fire

The first step when you spot a fire in your garage is to evacuate everyone from the premises. Do not attempt to extinguish the fire unless it is minor and controlled. Safety must take precedence over saving property.

Next, dial 999 for emergency services and report the incident promptly by calling emergency services. While waiting for help, ensure all doors leading into your home are closed so as not to allow smoke or flames inside.

If safe, move any vehicles away from the area. But, if there is already thick smoke or visible flames coming out of your garage door, do not risk opening it up, as this can lead to more oxygen fuelling the fire.

Lastly, wait for professional assistance before re-entering – even after the fire is extinguished, there may be unseen dangers lurking, like toxic fumes or hot spots ready to reignite. You must leave this process to fire restoration specialists to ensure your garage is safe again.

Frequently asked questions 

What is the most common cause of garage fires?

Garage fires start from electrical faults or mishandling flammable materials like petrol and paint.

What are the hazardous things in the garage?

Potential hazards include chemicals, old rags soaked with oil, overloaded outlets, and clutter that can fuel a fire.

Can you have a fire inside a garage?

Open flames in garages pose serious risks due to potential contact with flammable substances.

What are the health and safety risks in a garage?

Besides fire risks, other dangers include exposure to toxic fumes, electric shock hazards and injuries from falling objects.

Get in touch

Our area of expertise at ICE Cleaning is fire clean-up services where we effectively clean and secure your property following a fatal fire. As we strive to restore your property to its former state, we utilise modern equipment and remedies to eliminate any hazardous remnants.

To learn more about our services, you can speak to one of our customer service representatives today at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We are available to assist 24/7, 365 days a year, and can be on-site within a few hours of your first call in an emergency.

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