The garage is an important place in the home, it can be where we like to store our beloved vehicles, work on projects, or just spend time tinkering - and it's also where we unload the groceries. Yet the garage is full of hazards. Here are some tips on how to safeguard your garage and its contents, and make it safer for you and your family.
Don't invite pests. Raccoons, chipmunks, mice or rodents can completely destroy your car, chomping on wiring, eating upholstery, and taking up residence in vents, air intakes or under the seats. Leaving garbage or uneaten food in your garage or car is an open invitation, as is having open holes to outside.
Store fuel in proper containers if you have to store it. Store gasoline only in approved containers, and make sure they're free from corrosion and seal tightly. Install smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to assure an early warning.
Clean up spills. Fluids or other substances, even if not flammable by themselves, may combine with dust or oil to form a flammable combination. They may also be dangerous to children or the family dog or cat. Be especially careful with volatile cleaning solutions and coolant.
Consider getting a garage mat to catch spills and make cleanup easier. Store oily shop rags in a sealable metal container, or throw them away at a disposal facility.
Batteries old or new can be a hazard. As batteries get old and will no longer hold their charge, they could possibly explode or ignite a fire or cause chemical burns. Discard old batteries at a recycling center - don't leave them sitting around. If you have a battery that isn't bad, purchase a trickle charger at a local parts store so the battery won't overcharge.
Store tools in a secure place. Make sure all power tools, extension cords, and adapters are unplugged and properly stored away. Store ladders sideways, not upright, so that they don't possibly tip over on children or your vehicles. Check that any other automotive or gardening tools with sharp edges are stored securely in a place where they won't accidentally tip or fall over.
Use a car cover for stored vehicle. Using a cover for your stored vehicles while you store it in the garage gives added protection against dust and small accidents like scrapes and bumps to the side from other car doors, bicycle handlebars, or tools. Choose a car cover that's custom-sized for your vehicle and made of a breathable fabric to protect the paint.
Another inexpensive solution that helps prevent door dings from neighboring cars in the garage involves blanket the cushioning will protect items from any mild impact to the side of the car.
Store products in their original packaging. Keeping automotive products in their original packages will assure that you don't mistake one for another, and it will also help you more quickly find aid for accidental ingestion or skin contact.
Ensure proper ventilation. Every garage should have some sort of ventilation, whether it's a fan, or just ceiling vents. Make sure all the vents have a mesh covering, though, to keep the critters away.
Is the structure itself safe? People tend to pay attention to the security and integrity of their home and forget about the garage, especially if it's detached. Look for moisture entering the building through the corners or roof, and make sure the roof is in good shape. If you have items of high value in the garage, blocking off the windows might help to keep away thieves.
Precautions for children. If you have children - or children as visitors - there are some special precautions you should follow. Lock all potentially poisonous substances out of reach in a metal cabinet. Make sure all power tools, extension cords, and adapters are unplugged and properly stored away.
Store gasoline and all other potentially dangerous fluids out of children's' reach. If you have an automatic garage door, keep the remote controls away from children. Have the door inspected and maintained regularly, and know how to disengage and release the automatic mechanism in an emergency.
Are you protected? Check with your insurance agent that you have the necessary coverage against fire and physical damage, and that all vehicles - especially vehicles that are just parked most of the time - are covered under your insurance.
Keeping your garage safe is important and having things in their proper place and the proper coverage will protect you and your family in the long haul.