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**Fire Safety Consumer Alert** CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis: Don’t Let Drying Your Clothing Turn into a Tragedy

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis warns Floridians of the dangers of clothes dryer fires and offers tips to avoid a dryer fire related tragedy. Reports show, between 2012-2016, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 12,900 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year. These fires resulted in annual losses estimated at $211 million in property damage with 10 deaths, 360 injuries.
CFO and State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said, “Don’t let something as simple as drying your clothes turn into a major tragedy. According to the National Fire Protection Association, nearly 15,000 house fires nationwide are caused by a dryer each year. The shocking main cause of dryer fires in homes is failure to properly clean and maintain your dryer.
“Make sure your dryer is properly installed and you practice routine maintenance, including emptying the lint filter frequently. Keep the area around your dryer clean and clear of clutter that could possibly catch on fire.”
Tips to avoid dryer fires:

1. Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
2. Do 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.
3. Don’t overload your dryer: follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions
4. Make sure the air exhaust vent pipe is not restricted and the outdoor vent flap will open when the dryer is operating. Once a year, or more often if you notice that it is taking longer than normal for your clothes to dry, clean lint out of the vent pipe or have a dryer lint removal service do it for you.
5. Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
6. Turn the dryer off EVERY TIME you leave home or when you go to bed.
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