30-Minutes with Workroom Tech: Episode 13 / Fire Safety in the Workroom
Updated: Feb 9, 2021
In episode thirteen of the Sew Much More Podcast: 30-Minutes with Workroom Tech, host Ceil DiGuglielmo and Workroom Tech owner and retired firefighter Rodger Walker talk about fire safety in the workroom
You can listen to this episode here: Fire Safety in the Workroom Podcast
This is an important topic that many people don't think about. Being prepared can prevent fires, save property and lives. Rodger shares a few simple steps that you can take to help prevent fire in the workroom.
Rodger shared that in his experience as a firefighter, he has seen the importance of working smoke alarms firsthand. "The difference between getting out of a house fire, or not getting out of of house fire is the smoke alarm".
There are different types of smoke alarms:
1) A basic smoke alarm is battery operated, affordable and easy to install
2) An interlinked smoke alarm will set off all smoke detectors in the home. This is an important feature if your workroom is on a different level in the home than your bedroom.
3) A "smart" smoke alarm will sound an alarm and send notifications to your mobile device.
Routinely check and replace batteries in smoke detectors. There are smoke detectors with a sealed, 10-year battery. That style will need to be thrown away and replaced when it expires.
Rodger recommends that everyone have a fire extinguisher in their home and workroom. They can be found at big box retailers and hardware stores.
When purchasing a fire extinguisher look for one that has an ABC rating.
A - Trash, wood, paper
B - Liquids
A fire extinguisher with a metal head can be recharged and used again, where one with a plastic head will need to be thrown away after it is discharged.
To use a fire extinguisher, pull the pin and squeeze the trigger - spraying at the base of the flames. Many fire departments can demonstrate for you and let you practice, with a fire simulator.
Don't test a fire extinguisher. Once you pull the pin and break the seal it will lose the charge. If you have an older fire extinguisher, there is a pressure gauge that will show if it is still charged, or if it needs to be replaced.
Preventing Electrical Fires
Electrical cords can be a problem if they are not the proper size, or if they are damaged. If cords are cracked or wires are showing then you can get shocked, or they can spark, causing a fire. When using extension cords, make sure to use the heavy duty cords for sewing machines and irons, and not a lightweight extension cord that you would use for a lamp. In the photo below you can see the difference between the yellow, heavy duty cords, and the brown lamp cord.
Rodger says, "we like power strips as extension cords because they have little circuit breakers in them that will trip when you draw too much power through the cord". If electrical receptacles, cords or plugs become hot or blackened stop using them immediately.
Follow Manufacturers Instructions
There are so many brands of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, extension cords and power strips, BE SURE TO READ AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURERS INSTRUCTIONS.
General Safety Advice
Turn off all machines, irons and compressors before you leave the workroom for the day.
Keep paper and fabrics away from things that could start fires like irons, motors and heaters.
Have an escape route and don't block any door or window exits.
See Rodger's video below on fire safety in the workroom, filmed by The Workroom Channel.