Clothes Dryer Fire Safety Tips
Doing laundry is likely part of your daily (or at least weekly) routine. But, did you know that dryer fires are responsible for a significant number of damages, injuries, and deaths every year? There are approximately 15,600 structure fires, 400 injuries, and 15 deaths reported annually as a result of dryer fires. According to the United States Fire Administration, every year clothes dryer fires account for over $100 million in losses. Also, dryer fires involving commercial dryers have a 78% higher injury rate than residential dryer fires. A majority of dryer fires occur as a result of highly flammable lint getting caught in the dryer’s vent and becoming heated to the point of ignition. Most dryers come with lint traps or filters designed to capture the lint.
Following these simple safety tips, you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire:
- Dryers should be properly grounded.
- Check the outdoor vent flap to make sure it is not covered by snow.
- Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing.
- Clothes that have come in contact with flammable substances, like gasoline, paint thinner, or similar solvents should be laid outside to dry, then can be washed and dried as usual.
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove the lint that has collected around the drum.
- Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
- Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted, and the outdoor vent flap opens when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean the lint out of the vent pipe, or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
- Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
- Make sure the right plug and outlet are used, and that the machine is connected properly.
- Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
- Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.
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