Now that fall is officially here, it's time to prepare your home for the cold weather like putting on the storm doors, cleaning your gutters, and tuning up the furnace. And don’t forget your garage! Did you know most garage fires occur in January and February?

According to U.S Fire Administration, each year there are 6,600 garage fires in homes that result in an average of 30 deaths, 400 injuries, and $457 million in property loss. 

Electrical malfunction is the leading cause of garage fires. These fires start because of shorts in wires, damaged wires, and overloading electrical outlets. Garage fires can spread farther, go undetected longer, and lead to more injuries and dollar loss than fires that originate in other areas of your home.

Wendy Wagner, senior personal lines underwriter from West Bend Insurance will share some safety tips for your garage or detached outbuilding.

 Safety Tips

  • 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 one charging appliance into an outlet.
  • Keep the garage tidy and remove clutter.
  • When powering or charging appliances, avoid using an extension cord.
  • Avoid using carpets or rugs on the garage floor.
  • Do not fill portable gasoline containers inside your garage.
  • Install a heat alarm, rather than a smoke alarm, in your garage. The heat alarm will sound if the temperature rises too high. Smoke alarms in garages can sound because of a change in temperature and humidity, as well as dust, fumes and insects. Heat alarms are not affected by these conditions.
  • Do not use or install solid-fuel burning devices (wood, pellet, coal) in garages, workshops, or detached outbuildings and anywhere gasoline and other flammables vapors may be present. (Per NFPA code 211, location of Appliances 12.2.4 solid fuel burning appliances shall not be installed in any garage.)

Following these easy steps is a sure way to keep your home and possessions safe throughout the year!

Not only is it important to make sure that you have these safety tips down, but it's also important to make sure that you have the adequate coverage in case of a home fire. Check on your home insurance to make sure that you're protected for all your property in the case of an unexpected fire this winter.


West Bend Cares Blog

Image courtesy of franky242 at


Posted 3:40 PM  View Comments

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