Fire Safety Tips

Una Community Fire Department

Fire Prevention Tip Of The Month

October 2014

Fight Dryer Lint to Prevent Fires


Lint, the annoying byproduct of drying clothes, is also a fire hazard. That's right - excess lint can ignite. Usually such a fire starts after reduced airflow in the ventilation system causes lint buildup and overheating. The Consumer Product Safety Commission esitmates 16,700 dryer fires occurred in 1997 (latest available statistics from CPSC). Of these fires, the commission reports 30 deaths and 430 injuries.

How do you protect yourself from this messy, clingy, stick-to-your-hands danger? There are warning signs to look for that indicate a problem. Signs include long drying times to get clothes dry; clothing that is hotter than normal at the end of the cycle and a flapper on the vent hood that doesn't open when the dryer is on.

Maintenance is the key to prevention. The State Fire Marshal's Office recommends using the following maintenance to help prevent dryer fires.

bulletUse suitable ventilation when installing a dryer. Dryers should always vent to the outside of a house. Manufacturers offer guidelines for correct ventilation.
bulletDo not crush the vent pipe behind the dryer. This can cause lint to get trapped and collect in the pipe.
bulletClean the lint filter after each load of clothes.
bulletCheck the outside exhaust to make sure the air is moving through the vent pipe. Periodically remove lint buildup in the system. Some chimney sweep businesses offer this service.
bulletDo not put anything, such as nylon stocking, over the vent hood.

"Don't allow an annoyance to become a threat to your safety," says Fire Marshal Robert Polk. "A little maintenance can prevent a disaster."

"Survivor or Statistic? Get Fire Smart." is a fire safety campaign to educate the citizens of South Carolina about the dangers of fire. The campaign is a product of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, the State Fire Marshal's Office, the S.C. State Firemen's Association and the state fire service.

Courtesy of the Office of State Fire Marshal Web Site: