Image fo flames on a dark background
Garage fires can easily be avoided

You use your garage for tinkering and storage. Often your garage becomes the starting point for major projects such as landscaping or car work.

You leave boxes full of old rags or used paint cans in your garage that you don’t really want to store in your home.

As a result, you see your garage either as a place for fun projects or common chores.

Odds are you wouldn’t see it as a threat.

However, garages can cause a major fire hazard:

Nearly 6,600 garage fires start every year, causing 30 deaths and 400 injuries.

Garage fires cause around $457 million dollars in property damages every year.

Despite the danger, you can make your garage safe when you take the right precautions. We will show you some of the best ways to eliminate fire hazards in your garage.

Read on to discover the specific fire risks you face. If you correct them, you will have a home safe from garage fires.

Why Garage Fires Are Dangerous

A survey of garage fires found that they are more likely to cause injuries and extensive property damage, making them more severe than other residential fires.

What makes garages such a danger to the rest of the home? Fires in the garage have plenty of air and fuel necessary to get started.

Garages are home to many flammable materials such as fuel and work rags.

Perhaps more significantly, garages give fires a structural advantage.The low spot in the home allows fires to spread to the rest of the home quickly.

Garages that have lower ceilings can give the fire more avenues to move out of the garage. This is especially true if a bedroom sits above the fire.

The furnishings give the fire extra food, while the fire also blocks the window exits.

With these factors in mind, you can develop a three-pronged strategy to prevent garage fires.

  1. Get rid of fire starters
  2. Second, reduce the fuel that a potential fire has access to
  3. Make sure you can stop the fire from spreading to the rest of your home

Get Rid of Fire Starters

Fires need a spark, heat, or flame in order to catch.

If you remove potential starters form your garage, you can rest assured that you won’t see a major fire.

The following methods can help you neutralize the different fire starters in your garage.

  • Ensure the best electrical wiring in your garage. Electrical wiring is the number one cause of garage fires.
  • Use lightbulbs with proper wattage that don’t overload your wiring.
  • Don’t leave charging appliances alone in your garage and never use an extension cord to charge an appliance.
  • Never leave flammable chemicals in direct sunlight. The heat can cause them to explode.
  • Don’t mix chemicals. This can start a fire or create deadly fumes.

Reduce the Fuel in Your Garage

Garages are places for flammable items, and in some cases that is unavoidable.

However, it’s best to remove as many fuel sources as possible.

You can prevent a large fire from burning out of control if you keep flammable materials out of the fire’s reach.

Use these tips to make your garage safer.

  • Remove clutter like paper and oil rags from your garage. A cluttered garage provides the initial fuel that builds fire to unmanageable levels. Make sure you secure oil rags in separate, air-tight containers and place them far from any heat sources.
  • Store oil, gasoline, paint, and propane in a separate shed. Even if they catch here, the fire will stay localized in the area. This rule is especially true of propane tanks. The pressurized fuel will explode if it catches on fire, sending deadly fragments through your home.
  • Keep other flammable liquids away from any appliances. Store them in small quantities only.

Install Safety Features to Contain a Fire

If a fire does happen in your garage, you need to contain the fire immediately.

Safety features and fire-resistant home improvements can keep the fire in your garage until emergency services can come help you.

Use these ideas to determine which upgrades work best for your home.

  • Upgrade your garage walls and ceiling with Type X fire-rated gypsum. This material will block fires from spreading, giving your family time to exit your home.
  • Get a 20-min fire-resistant door that is self-latching and self-closing. This will prevent a fire from entering the living area of your ho
    me before you can escape. Never have a doggy door on your garage door.
  • Install an attic hatch cover if your attic entryway is in your garage.
  • Purchase a heat alarm for your garage, rather than a smoke alarm. Heat alarms work better in the dusty environment of a garage.


If you want to use your garage as a work station or a place to tinker, the threat of fire means you need to take steps to stay safe.

We have given you a variety of strategies to remove ignition sources, reduce available fuel, and contain a fire.

With these strategies, you can reduce your chances of ever experiencing a garage fire.

Posted in Garage Safety by AA Garage Doors February 23, 2015


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