You may not even put your car in your garage. It may be a great, big storage room. And, it may be dangerous for you and your family. Here are 5 safety hazards you should be aware of – and if they exist in your garage, correct them.
1. Carbon Monoxide Fumes. These can build up quickly and if your garage is attached to your home, they may enter your living space. They don’t just come from the car engine although that is a big source of carbon monoxide. Other sources include any fuel-burning equipment or engine-powered machines. Never leave the car running even if the garage door is open. Be safe – install carbon monoxide detectors close to all sleeping areas. They should be on every level of the home. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless so the CO alarms are the only warning you’ll get.
2. Where are the Toys? Not yours – the kids’ toys. Be careful never to store anything your children use from sports equipment to bicycles near liquid chemicals like cleaning solutions or automotive products. You don’t want your children to be exposed to chemicals accidentally. Also, keep all of the children’s gear on lower shelves where they can reach it easily. Don’t tempt them to climb up a set of shelves or stack up something to try to reach the toy they want.
3. Watch out for Falling Ladders – or shovels or rakes. It seems so easy to lean those things against the wall. But when you lean them vertically, they are a hazard that can easily be knocked over and injure someone. Or, they can leave a big dent or scratch on your car. Hang lawn tools securely on hooks or racks made for that purpose. The ladder can be stored horizontally on the floor if you like, but leaning it against the wall not only makes it a falling hazard – it invites children to go for a climb.
4. Don’t be Dim. With everything that is in your garage, it should be bright. Bright enough so that you do away with tripping or falling over an unseen item. Your garage has lots of tight spaces so make sure the light is bright enough so everyone can see their way. A Home Safety Council/Garage Tech survey showed that about one-third of garages do not have adequate lighting. Don’t let yours be one of them.
5. Use Proper Cords. That everyday extension cord isn’t what you need in the garage. You’re probably using the extension cord to run a power tool. Even, if you’re just using it to light a light, go with a heavy-duty cord. You’re talking about damp concrete floors and, often, an indoor-outdoor use. Buy a thicker, rounder cord that is marked “suitable for use with outdoor appliances”. Don’t over load a small cord as that could create a fire or electrical hazard.
Remember that the biggest hazard in your garage is a that big, moving garage door if it’s not properly maintained. Always have a safety and maintenance check at least once a year by a licensed garage door repair and replacement company. They’ll make sure that all those springs and cables that are under extreme tension are operating safely and the door is secure. They’ll also check the very important auto-reverse function that keeps the door from closing on an object or, worse, an unsuspecting pet or child. Your licensed garage door company is your partner in making your garage a safe place for everyone.