Homeowner's Academy

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Garage Safety 101

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Mar 19, 2014

house-garage-safety101The American garage has evolved from a place where we store and work on cars to the central hub of kid’s projects, lawn equipment and a cool place to sit on a hot day. We’re a big fan of using the garage for more than just parking, but this area of your home has some dangers that you need to be aware of.  People’s Trust recommends to follow these tips to keep your family and home safe.

A Home’s Only Door that Opens Up

The first significant danger is your garage door. Garage doors and their remotes are not toys. Discuss how to properly open and close the door with your children and never let them play with the door. Today, the typical garage door will stop descending if it comes into contact with something, from a car to a person. However, these safety mechanisms can fail. To ensure your garage door is as safe as possible, you can:

  • Install door controls out of the reach of small children.
  • Restrict access to door remotes.
  • Test your door’s stopping mechanism each month by placing a 2×4 in its path. If the door does not stop and go back up after contacting the beam, have it serviced immediately.
  • Visually check your door for damaged springs and cables. Look for wear and tear or bent metal. Most doors will need to be repaired professionally because of the tension systems they use.
  • Always have a professional look at your door if someone hits it with their car.

Be Smart with Electricity

Another common concern in a garage is the risk of a fire.

According to FEMA, there are roughly 6,600 garage fires each year and they cause more than $457 million in property damage. Some 16% of these fires (more than 1,000 fires) are caused by “electrical malfunctions” often associated with overloading electrical outlets.

Garage electrical outlets are usually designed for a low to moderate amount of use. Using multiple power strips or outlet converters on garage wall outlets can quickly overload them and lead to a fire. Unfortunately, the news is full of events where a “small number” of extra plugs created a disaster. Last year, a family in Tulsa had $25,000 worth of damage after one power strip and one extension cord caused an overload and started a fire.

If you have to use an extension cord, unplug other items from your outlet and make sure to unplug the cord when you’re done. These should only be temporary uses, not a permanent fix.

We strongly discourage any use of power strips in your garage.

Avoid Being Criminal Eye Candy

Is your garage overflowing with so many projects, bikes, tools, fridges and other goodies that you can’t fit your car inside?

Unfortunately, parking in front of your garage can make you an appealing target for thieves. Garages often hold big-ticket items, from classic cars to refrigerators and specialized tools, making them a prime target when they seem easy to access. Since openers are often kept inside cars, thieves peek in car windows to try and find an easy way in to your home.

Here are some tips to help keep your family safe and prevent intruders from entering through an attached garage:

  • Never leave garage door openers in cars parked on the street or in your driveway.
  • Always lock any doors that lead from the garage to the outside or from the garage to the inside of your home.  Don’t leave your doors unlocked.
  • Check the garage door before you go to bed.
  • When on vacation, unplug or lock your garage door’s opener unit to prevent unwanted access.

Garage doors are a great convenience, but it takes dedication to prevent them from becoming a great liability.

This Blog is sponsored by:
People’s Trust Insurance Company