Basement & Garage

Not only are basement and garage fires detected less quickly than fires that begin in the house, they often spread more quickly and more violently.

Basement Safety Tips

Early Warning Devices

  • Install a smoke alarm in your basement. Test the alarm each month, and clean as needed. Connect the basement smoke alarm to the other smoke alarms in your home.
  • If you have oil, gas or wood burning equipment in the basement, install a carbon monoxide alarm there too.


  • Make sure you have easy, quick access to your fuse box or circuit breaker panel.
  • Keep burner access doors closed on gas water heaters and gas furnaces. This keeps flames from escaping and starting a fire.


  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from your furnace, oil burner, wood stove, water heater and other heat-generating equipment.
  • Keep oily rags in airtight containers away from heat sources.
  • Don’t store trash in the basement.
  • Plug your washer and dryer directly into wall outlets.
  • Clean your dryer’s lint filter after every use. Clean your dryer’s ductwork once a year.
  • Keep your stairs clutter-free for a safe and quick exit in an emergency.

Garage Safety Tips

Flammable Substances

  • Gasoline, oil and paint are very flammable. If you need to store these materials, make sure you do so only in small amounts or store them in a shed away from your house.
  • Keep each flammable substance in a clearly labelled small, sealed container.
  • Store propane cylinders outside or in a shed. Propane can safely remain outdoors year round.


  • Equip your garage for a fire. Install a smoke detector and check that it works at least once a month.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher easily accessible in your garage to use for fires in your garage or home.
  • Clean up spills right away.
  • Once a month clean the garage of dust, cobwebs and trash. These can interfere with your electrical system.