BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Local firefighters are urging residents to check their lint filter every time they run their dryer.

Baltimore’s Firefighter union tweeted that dryer fires are one of the leading causes of house fires.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 15,970 home fires a year involve clothes dryers or washing machines. Ninety two percent of those fires were due to the dryer.

From 2010-2014, those fires resulted in 13 deaths, 440 injuries and $238 million in direct property damage.

“The leading items first ignited in dryer fires were dust, fiber or lint (26% of total) and clothing (26%), while items first ignited in washing machine fires were part of the appliance itself, including wire or cable insulation (26%), appliance housing or casing (24%), and drive belt (11%),” a report by NFPA states.

Here are some tips from NFPA:

  • Have your dryer installed and serviced by a professional.
  • Do not use the dryer without a lint filter.
  • Make sure you clean the lint filter before or after each load of laundry. Remove lint that has collected around the drum.
  • Rigid or flexible metal venting material should be used to sustain proper air flow and drying time.
  • 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.
  • Keep dryers in good working order. Gas dryers should be inspected by a qualified professional to make sure that the gas line and connection are intact and free of leaks.
  • Make sure the right plug and outlet are used and that the machine is connected properly.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s operating instructions and don’t overload your dryer.
  • Turn the dryer off if you leave home or when you go to bed.

The U.S Fire Administration reports,” more home clothes dryer fires occur in the fall and winter months, peaking in January.”

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