A safety expert explains the 2 main causes of commercial dryer fires

Stan Szpytek has seen his share of commercial dryer fires in 40-plus years as a deputy fire chief, fire marshal and safety consultant.

The fires almost always stemmed from one of two causes: Flammable material that should not have been put into the dryer, and a buildup of lint and other debris.

“Most commonly, fires in the laundry room are caused by improper use of commercial clothes dryers. This typically means that items that should not have been placed in the dryer were indeed placed in the dryer barrel and caught fire. 

“Some of those items include micro-fiber mop heads and mixed loads of materials such as rags that previously were saturated with grease, oil or cleaning solutions. The temperatures produced in commercial clothes dryers can bring these combustible materials up to their ignition temperature and subsequently cause a fire within the dryer barrel,” he said.

“The other common denominator is lack of maintenance. As a former fire marshal and currently as a fire/life safety consultant, it is not uncommon for me to observe lint traps full of combustible material such as highly flammable lint. 

“Additionally, the mechanical areas in the rear and inside of the clothes dryers — including motors, electrical components and piping near the open flame of a natural gas-powered machine — often are covered in lint when not regularly cleaned and maintained.”

Szpytek is the president of the national consulting firm Fire and Life Safety Inc., based in Mesa, AZ. He made his remarks in an article he wrote for “McKnight’s Senior Living” guest column.

He recommended that commercial laundries establish procedures and constantly train staff in safety measures.

“Lint traps should be emptied regularly, and all interior and exterior surfaces should be maintained in a condition that is free of combustible materials such as lint,” he wrote.

Dapper Ducts NYC cleans lint and other debris from traps and ducts in commercial and home laundries throughout New York City.

 

You can read the entire Stan Szpytek column at https://www.mcknightsseniorliving.com/home/columns/guest-columns/preventing-commercial-laundry-room-fires-in-senior-living-communities/

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