Last week, a residential fire in SW Portland caused over $20,000 in damage. The fire was determined to be caused by a build-up of lint in the dryer vent. Thankfully, the quick actions of firefighters prevented the house fire from spreading to nearby home and causing further damage.
Clothes dryer fires are one of the most common causes of house fires. The National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA) estimates between 2003 and 2006, one out of every 23 home fires was caused by the dryers or washing machines. In 2006, the NFPA estimated firefighters responded to 17,700 fires caused by the household appliances.
The leading cause of these fires according to NFPA is failure to clean the lint from the dryer. The NFPA recommends regular cleaning of the lint vents, making sure the air exhaust vent pipe and outdoor vent flap are not restricted.
A few simple safety tips you can help prevent a clothes dryer fire:
- Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
- Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
- Keep the area around your dryer clear of things that can burn, like boxes, cleaning supplies and clothing, etc.
- Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
- Do not restrict the air exhaust vent pipe and make sure that the outdoor vent flap is opening when the dryer is operating.
- Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
For more clothes dryer safety tips, click here.
Portland Fire & Rescue
We Respond: Always Ready, Always There
September 19, 2011