Garage Safety Tips for Seniors

Front of House with Garage

Garages may not be seen as a particularly accident-prone place for most homeowners, but they can turn into danger zones if they're not properly maintained. Because most people have a tendency to skip their garage during basic home safety checks, it may come as no surprise that emergency responders often find the garage a common place for accidents to occur.

 From slips to fires, the garage can be a surprisingly precarious place to be. To reduce the risks, it's time to start paying a little more attention to how everything is organized, configured, and protected.

Saying Goodbye to Clutter

Clutter isn't just an eyesore - it can also be dangerous if left unchecked. Just one errant object can cause people to bruise their body or even fall straight to the floor.

Garages are often used as a way to get objects out of the home that aren't being used but that are still important to the owner. And yet, those objects are rarely ever seen or used again, which means they turn into potential safety hazards as opposed to useful items or sentimental mementos.

To create a safer environment, homeowners need to evaluate their priorities and get themselves ready to either sell or donate objects that may have made their garage an impassable fortress of junk. 

Clearing It Out

Organized tools

Once a person has gone through the items they don't need, it's time to start concentrating on those they do need. Homeowners should begin by categorizing each set of items that are absolutely essential to the garage. For example, gardening supplies go in one corner while the sporting gear can be stored in the rafters. This reduces the amount of searching for items and creates clear pathways for everyone to use.

Homeowners who absolutely cannot bear to part with certain unused items should consider renting storage space instead of using their garage. This extra step can force homeowners to really decide on the borderline items. (The only problem with this solution is that the storage facility can become just as dangerous for trips or other injuries.)

Adding Traction

Picking the perfect garage floor may make the space look more sleek and stylish, but they can also make it easy for a homeowner in slippers to enter their own garage. If the garage floor doesn't have enough friction or lighting, homeowners will need should concentrate on making their floor as slip-proof as possible.

Add traction by applying rows of non-slip tape that has the abrasive particles homeowners need to gain traction no matter what shoes they're wearing. 3M makes a tape called Safety-Walk that is versatile enough to be used on practically any flooring. If there are dark parts of the floor, consider putting in additional lighting to avoid potential hazards. 

Avoiding Spills

Grinder Causing Sparks

Gasoline drips and oil spills increase the chances of slipping when walking around the garage, but they may even more dangerous in the case of an electrical spark or an errant ember that finds its way into the garage. Garage fires can spread to the main home quickly and potentially even the neighbor's homes as well. To avoid this, homeowners should limit the number of flammable materials they have in their garage and store them as far away from electrical appliances as possible.

Homeowners should be checking for spills, cleaning them up immediately, and inspecting the wiring periodically to ensure that a frayed wire isn't going to cause a huge problem. 

Installing a Smart Smoke Detector

Smart smoke detectors can do more than just sense the start of a fire and sound an alarm. They can actually send an alarm straight to a smartphone in case someone isn't physically near the garage. These devices also sense the presence of odorless carbon monoxide so homeowners don't endanger themselves or loved ones simply by being in the garage. It's far more difficult to monitor the interior of a garage than it is the main house, so these elements can be extremely important to avoid a catastrophe. These detectors are easily programmed and have exceptionally low error rates. 

Closing the Loops

Electrician Fixing Outlet

If the garage door doesn't open and close with ease, homeowners shouldn't delay in getting it repaired. Criminals see garages as a gateway to the rest of the home, and the advent of electronic keypads and locks have made garages more vulnerable to break-ins from tech-savvy thieves. In addition to keeping everything locked and storing the valuable items out of sight, homeowners should consider changing their password often and even getting cameras to monitor activity. Calling a specialist can be a good way to getting the right technology and repairs to lower the risks of a potential break-in. 

Taking care of a garage may not need as much maintenance as the main building, but it also shouldn't be viewed as just a place to stash everything away. Homeowners who want to be able to use the space without feeling like they're going to be injured any moment need to be strategic about what they store, how they store it, and what they're doing to keep away natural and man-made disasters alike. 

About the Author

Justin Havre is a Calgary native and owner of Justin Havre & Associates. Justin believes a good home is a safe home, and that owners should always be looking to optimize their space for their lifestyle.