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.