Spring into Fire Safety – April Edition
Clothes Dryer Maintenance
The Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Services suggests that residents take a few extra steps to remain fire safe this spring. According to the United States Fire Administration, nearly 3,000 clothes dryer fires occur each year. Estimates from those fires indicate, 5 people are killed, 100 are injured and property loss results in $35 million dollars. Failure to clean the clothes dryer is the leading cause of these types of home fires. To prevent this from happening in your home, a few steps should be taken:
The lint filter must remain in place and properly fit the dryer. Lint is a highly combustible material that can accumulate both in the dryer and in the dryer vent.
Prior to and immediately following a load of laundry, the lint filter must be cleaned. Accumulated lint leads to reduced airflow and can pose a potential fire hazard.
Vent system piping should be inspected to ensure it is not crushed or damaged. A compromised vent will not exhaust properly to the outside.
Vent system openings should be inspected for possible airflow restrictions (vegetation, animals) or damage. Blockage in dryer exhaust vents can occur from the nests of small birds or other animals.
Wall dampers should remain in place to keep environmental elements out. Increased moisture buildup from snow and rain entering the opening can cause lint accumulations at the exhaust opening.
Replace coiled-wire foil or plastic venting with rigid, non-ribbed metal duct to limit airflow restriction and buildup of lint in piping. Flexible ductwork is more susceptible to exhaust path blockage from hose compression and lint buildup.
Know what you are drying: Don’t dry items that may be flammable, glass fiber materials, items containing foam, rubber or plastic. Multiple washings should be completed to minimize any volatile chemical contamination.
Don’t overload the dryer or leave it running when away from home.
In addition to these simple steps, residents should ensure that they have working smoke alarms both inside and outside of all sleeping areas. Deadly gases and smoke can spread throughout a home quickly, it is important that residents receive warning at the earliest time possible. For additional information about smoke alarms, visit our website at: https://frederickcountymd.gov/index.aspx?NID=2321.