Rock Rapids, Iowa — In a fire call that should serve as a reminder to all of us to check or clear out our dryer vents regularly — Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck says this call could have ended much differently.
The Rock Rapids Fire Department was paged about 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 28th, to an address on Park Drive for a dryer that was smoking. Reck says that when they got there they did find a clothes dryer that had been smoking. He says that as a precaution, he had firefighters take the dryer outside in case there was lint or something in the dryer that was smoldering.
But Reck says he’s pretty sure the cause of the smoke was a plugged dryer vent. He says they opened some windows and let the smoke outside, and that there was no smoke damage to the home. He says the 10 to 15 firefighters who responded to the scene were there for maybe 15 to 20 minutes.
The National Fire Protection Association (or NFPA) says that in the period of 2010 to 2014, the leading factor contributing to the ignition of home fires involving clothes dryers was a failure to clean, accounting for one-third of dryer fires. Since it’s easy to forget to check dryer vents, they suggest doing it on an annual schedule. They also advise that people should:
· Not use the dryer without a lint filter.
· Clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
· Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating.
The NFPA also says that rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.