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Basement and Garage Fire Safety

Basements and garages present additional fire safety risks compared to other home areas. Flammable liquids, storage of combustibles, gas appliances and electrical tools can lead to fires.

Did you know:

Garage fires tend to spread farther and cause more injuries and dollar loss than fires that start in all other areas of the home.

Source: National Fire Incident Reporting System

Help increase awareness about dangerous basement and garage fires in your community with these messages and free materials.

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Basement fire safety: Early warning devices

Install a smoke alarm in the basement. Test the alarm each month and clean as needed. The basement smoke alarm should be connected to other smoke alarms in your home.
If you have oil-, gas- or wood-burning equipment in the basement, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm installed in the basement.

Basement fire safety: Utilities

Maintain easy, quick access to your fuse box or circuit breaker panel.
Keep the burner access doors on gas water heaters and gas furnaces closed to prevent flames from escaping and starting a fire.

Basement fire safety: Housekeeping

Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from the furnace, oil burner, wood stoves, water heaters and other heat-generating equipment.
Keep oily rags in airtight containers and away from heat sources.
Trash should not be stored in the basement.
Washers and dryers should be plugged directly into wall outlets.
Clean lint filters every time you use the dryer. Clean the dryer vent ductwork every year.
Keep stairs free of clutter and safe for quick exit in an emergency.

Garage fire safety

Store oil, gasoline, paints, propane and varnishes in a shed away from your home.
Keep items that can burn on shelves away from appliances.
Plug only 1 charging appliance into an outlet.
Don't use an extension cord when charging an appliance.

Garage fire safety — Safety through construction (install):

A 20-minute fire-rated door that is self-closing and self-latching from the garage into the house.
A ceiling made with 5/8-inch Type X gypsum board (or the equivalent) if you have living space above the garage.
A wall with 1/2-inch gypsum board (or the equivalent) if the wall attaches the garage to your home.
An attic hatch cover if you have attic access from the garage.
A heat alarm — not a smoke alarm — in your garage. The heat alarm will sound if the temperature rises too high.

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