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Dryer and Washing Machine Safety

By frhayes | October 9, 2009

Dryers & washing machines  
NFPA Safety Tips 
dot Do not operate the dryer without a lint filter. Clean lint filters before or after each use and remove accumulated lint from around the drum.
dot Make sure that the dryer is plugged into an outlet suitable for its electrical needs as overloaded electrical outlets can result in blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers.
dot Turn the dryer off when leaving the home.
dot Keep the dryer area clear of combustibles (i.e., boxes or clothing).
dot Dryers should be installed and serviced by a professional.
dot Have gas-powered dryers inspected by a professional regularly to ensure that the gas line and connection are intact.
Washing machineDryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 21 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2002-2005. Facts and figures
  • Dryers and washing machines were involved in an average of 18,280 home structure fires per year between 2002 and 2005. These fires caused an average of 26 deaths, 468 injuries and $198 million in direct property damage per year.
  • Clothes dryers and washing machines were involved in 5% of the home structure fires reported between 2002 and 2005.
  • Clothes dryers accounted for 92% of the fires; washing machines 5%, and washer and dryer combinations accounted for 3%.
  • The leading cause of home clothes dryer and washer fires was failure to clean (29%), followed by unclassified mechanical failure or malfunction (23%). Thirteen percent were caused by some type of electrical failure or short circuit.
  • Over half of these fires started with either clothing (28%) or dust, fiber or lint (27%).
Source: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Clothes Dryers and Washing Machines," report by John R. Hall Jr., May 2008.
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