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Safety Buying Guide: Garage

Garage Image

The garage and basement are wonderful storage areas, but use caution and common sense with your hazardous chemicals, power tools and sharp objects to maintain a safe space for both people and pets.

Water, Gas and Electricity

Know where your shut-off valves and switches are for your home’s water, gas and electricity. Label them with brightly colored tags so they are easy for anyone in the household to locate in the event of an emergency.


Maintain bright lighting in your garage or basement to reduce hazards and create a more enjoyable and functional workspace.

  • Make sure light switches are conveniently located
  • Replace burned out bulbs immediately
  • Use lights bright enough to illuminate working and walking areas

Storage and Organization

Whether you’re storing sporting equipment, power tools or chemicals, it is imperative to install and maintain sturdy utility shelving.

Keep tools and sharp objects off the floor and consider the use of a tool chest or storage cabinet for easy accessibility.

Store dangerous chemicals in safe containers according to manufacturer’s instructions, preferably on high shelves or in cabinets with doors that lock. Lockable utility cabinets also make a good option for keeping dangerous substances away from kids and pets.

To store ladders or bicycles overhead, mount brackets to the ceiling joists or install a lift assembly. This creates usable floor space and helps eliminate falls.

Corner shelving is a great option for small item storage.

When storing and removing items from high shelves, use a step stool or utility ladder. Never stand on a chair or climb your shelving units.

Garage Door Openers

If you have an older home, chances are good that you have a garage door that lacks modern safety features. Invest in safety with a new door and opener that offers automatic reversal sensors and a photoelectric safety sensor eye to prevent crushing injuries or deaths. This feature is especially important in households with small children and pets.

Other Dangers & Considerations

Test your basement or garage for the presence of radon, an invisible, odorless, naturally occurring carcinogen. Radon test kits provide instruction on capturing an air sample and submitting it for analysis.

Carbon monoxide is another invisible, odorless gas that can be deadly. Install a carbon monoxide detector and never run your car, grill or lawn mower inside the garage, even if you have the door open. Always move fuel-burning machinery outdoors before running.

Because many flammable materials are stored in the garage, it’s a good idea to install a smoke detector. Monitor battery life as you would in your home for ongoing safety and peace of mind.