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Clothes Dryers Pose Fire Risk for Ministries

Proper installation and maintenance are key to preventing dryer fires

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An estimated 2,900 clothes dryer fires are reported each year, and they cause about $35 million in property losses, according to a report by the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA). The most common causes of such fires are dryers that are improperly installed or not maintained. While this may seem like a residential concern, many churches and other ministries, including Christian schools and universities, have clothes dryers on their property, too.

Maintenance is Key

If your ministry has a clothes dryer, maintenance is the key to avoiding a fire. In addition to having a professional install and service all clothes dryers on your ministry property, here are some other tips offered by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA):

  • Do not use the dryer without the lint filter.
  • Clean the lint filter before or after every load of laundry.
  • Remove lint that collects around the dryer drum.
  • Check the air exhaust pipe and the outdoor vent flap to make sure they are not restricted and are working properly when the dryer is operating.
  • Do not overload the dryer.
  • Turn the dryer off when ministry staff are unavailable to keep an eye on it.
  • Have gas dryers inspected by a professional, to make sure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.

You can find other maintenance and fire prevention tips for clothes dryers on the NFPA’s website.

Check Your Dryers

Take a few moments this month to inspect your clothes dryers, both inside your building and outside at the vent, to make sure they are clean and in proper working order. It’s a relatively simple thing to do, and your efforts will pay off when it helps you avoid costly losses associated with a fire. For more information and fire prevention tips, check out the Disasters, Emergencies & Health section here in the Safety Library.