With frosty mornings upon us, now is the perfect time to make sure your home and garage are prepared for the cooler months ahead. Whether you are dragging heaters out of storage or clearing out dry leaves from your gutters, getting fire safe ready for winter is essential. The good news is that preparing your garage and home for winter can be as easy as undertaking these few simple checks
Check your indoor and outdoor heaters
Before pulling out the heater and switching it on, you need to check that it is still safe to use. First, look for any physical signs of wear and tear and have your heater serviced by a qualified professional before turning it on each winter, as suggested by ELGAS.
On freezing cold nights and rainy days, it can be tempting to sleep with the heater on or to dry your washing in front of it, however, both of these can be highly dangerous.
Clear out your gutters
Clearing out your home’s gutters is generally associated with autumn; however, it is a crucial practice to carry through to winter too. Helping to carry water away from your home, a leaky gutter could cause superficial damage like peeling paint or more severe issues like foundation cracks and mould build up.
With a heightened fire risk, winter is the ideal time to check your electrical appliances. Before carrying out any safety checks, ensure you switch off and unplug the appliance. Keep an eye out for frayed cords, melted cables or plastic, exposed wires, damaged power points and signs of insect or rodent activity.
Test your smoke alarm
Winter safety preparation is the perfect reminder to check your smoke alarm batteries, which should be replaced every year. According to Fire and Rescue NSW, every month you should test your alarm by pressing the test button for at least five seconds until you hear the beeps.
While you’re up there, think about how long you’ve had your smoke alarm. They need to be replaced every five years (or earlier if advised by the manufacturer).
If you don’t have a smoke alarm in the garage, now is the time to get one.
Test your garage door opener
It’s also important to test your garage door opener by performing a safety reversal test to ensure it will quickly reverse if it the door comes into contact with any objects. This can easily be undertaken by following these steps:
1. Place a 40mm object under the door (like a block of wood).
2. Operate the door to come in contact with the object.
3. Door should bounce back from the object in less than a second (or two seconds if Safety Beams are installed).
Check you know how to use the manual release cord
If the power is out during an emergency, knowing how to operate the manual release cord on your garage door can help get you and your family to safety as quickly as possible.
On a roller door, the manual release cord can be found near the motor on the side of the door. For sectional doors, it can be found in the middle of the garage ceiling.
How to operate your manual release cord:
- Pull the red cord down firmly once to manually release the door’s locking mechanism, the opener should make a clicking noise.
- Walk over to the door to push it up manually. Do not try to pull the door using the manual release cord as it will snap under the load.
- Take care when operating the manual release when the door is open, as it may fall rapidly due to weak or broken springs.
- When power returns, or it is safe to do so, re-engage the opener by pulling the red release cord down firmly.