Practicing garage door safety is an open and shut case

Practicing garage door safety is an open and shut case

What weighs 600 pounds, deters intruders and goes up or down at the push of a button? It's your automatic garage door, the largest moving piece of equipment in many homes.

Automatic garage doors may be a routine part of leaving and arriving home, but you should be aware of the potential for injury. Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., recommends these safety tips:

  • Always keep automatic garage doors fully open or fully closed. Some folks may leave a small opening at the bottom for pets to get in and out for food or shade. But a small opening could also be an invitation for a child to try to crawl through and get stuck. Another push of the button could send the heavy door down — causing injury — instead of bringing the door up when trying to free anyone stuck underneath. If you encounter someone stuck in an automatic door, don't push the button on the garage opener — call your local fire department.
  • Read instructions on how to operate and maintain your garage door properly. Check your automatic door monthly to be sure safety precautions are working. Many garage doors boast a safety feature that triggers an automatic reversal if anything is encountered while closing. To check, place a 1.5-inch object (like a flat 2-by-4) in the path of the door to make sure the door correctly reverses when contact is made. Instructions should also advise on maintaining a properly balanced door. Call a qualified repair company for service or maintenance.
  • Do not allow children to operate a garage door. It may seem harmless to allow children to push the garage opener. But activating heavy equipment should be taken seriously.
  • Avoid walking under a door that is opening or closing. You never know when a malfunction may take place. Steer clear of a moving door.
  • Know when and how to use the emergency release. You'll find a cord with a handle hanging along the track of your garage door. Always use caution when using this release, and only use it when the door is fully closed.

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