Getting in (or out of) Your Garage in a Disaster

Let's take a look at the safety of your garage not only from intruders, but also from a disaster safety point of view. 

  • You need to be able to access your garage during a power outage.  If the garage is attached to your home or has manual doors, you're probably fine.  But if your doors are only power lift doors, be certain that you have another walk-in door or access that you can use when the power goes out.
  • Also, be certain that all the drivers in the family know how to disengage the door lift motor and manually lift the door.  In a weather or earthquake related emergency, you may need to make a quick exit by car.
  • Try not to establish consistent and obvious patterns of when you are and aren't home, related to your garage.  Leaving the garage open when you leave, or in contrast, only closing the door when you're gone can make you a predictable target for vandalism and crime.
  • Try to block clear views into your garage through the windows.  Curtains, blinds, and tinted film can help reduce what is able to be seen.
  • Take a look around and assess the safety hazards that might occur from falling items. (Think earthquake, strong winds, or car bumping into something.) Loose tools, containers of chemicals or liquids, large or heavy items, or unsecured storage areas could come crashing down and create a greater hazard.  Keep these items low, away from likely exits, and secured.
  • Also consider fire hazards.  Carefully consider if highly flammable and other hazardous items are necessary to keep.  Store hazardous items according to manufacturers' instructions in a secure and stable location.  Never store flammable liquids in glass.  If they drop, break, and contact a spark, they may start a fire.
  • Don't go crazy using extension cords or multi-plug adapters in the garage.  An "electrical octopus" is a huge fire and trip hazard.

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