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Information: (650) 851-1594

Garage Fires

Garage fires tend to spread farther and cause more injuries and dollar loss per fire than fires that start in all other areas of the home. Help increase awareness about dangerous home garage fires in your community with these messages and free materials.

Free handouts

Download these free handouts on preventing home garage fires to reproduce and distribute in your community. A space is provided for you to easily include your organization's logo.

garage fire safety fact sheet

Fact sheet with statistics and tips to prevent home garage fires (PDF, 1.1 Mb, 8½ inches x 11 inches)

garage fire safety poster

Poster with tips to prevent home garage fires (PDF, 754 Kb, 8½ inches x 11 inches)

garage fire safety postcard

Postcard with tips to prevent home garage fires (PDF, 650 Kb, 8½ inches x 5 inches, 2-up)


Facts about garage fires

Every year, there are 6,600 garage fires in homes that result in an average of:

  • 30 deaths.
  • 400 injuries.
  • $457 million in property loss.

Of these fires, 93 percent occurred in one- and two-family homes.

The leading cause of garage fires is electrical malfunction. This can be due to shorts in wires, damaged wires, and overloading electrical outlets.

Fire safety messages

Remind residents to follow these prevention tips to keep homes safe from garage fires.

  • 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.
  • Don’t use an extension cord when charging an appliance.
  • Install:
    • A 20-minute fire-rated door that is self-closing and self-latching from the garage into the house.
    • A ceiling made with ⅝-inch Type X gypsum board (or the equivalent) if you have living space above the garage.
    • A wall with ½-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.

Information to share about heat alarms

Heat alarms (detectors) are designed to respond to fire, not smoke. While smoke alarms get most of the attention, heat alarms are another useful part of any home fire detection system.

Some environments, like those found in garages, can cause smoke alarms to sound due to changes in temperature and humidity, as well as dust, fumes and insects. Heat alarms are virtually unaffected by these adverse conditions; smoke alarms are not.

Smoke alarms are not required, or designed for use, in garages. Many heat alarm models can be connected to a home’s fire detection system so that if the heat alarm sounds, the smoke alarms will as well.

 Tips for buying and installing heat alarms:

Purchase a heat alarm that is:

  • Hard-wired with a battery backup.
  • Capable of interconnecting with your home’s smoke alarms.
  • Rated for temperatures between 175-250 degrees Fahrenheit. Alarms with lower temperature ratings may falsely sound in garages where temperatures rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Alarms with higher temperature ratings may sound too late to warn you about a fire.

Have your hard-wired heat alarm installed by a qualified electrician.

Don’t install heat alarms near fluorescent lights. Electrical noise and flickering from the lights may affect the alarm’s operation.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additional resources on garage fires

Woodside  -  Portola Valley  -  Emerald Hills  -  Ladera  -  Los Trancos  -  Skyline  -  Viste Verde

Contact Us

808 Portola Rd #C
Portola Valley, CA  USA
Tel: (650) 851-1594
Fax: (650) 851-3960
For Emergencies, Dial 9-1-1

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