OSFM report issued on dryer lint fires as a result of CSFA-sponsored bill;
code development and more research recommended

A stakeholder group of fire and industry representatives, working under the direction of the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) as a result of CSFA-sponsored legislation, has released its Informational Report on Dryer Lint Fires. The results of this report will help set the stage for future standards and regulations to help preserve lives and property.

BACKGROUND

In October 2015 Governor Jerry Brown has signed CSFA-sponsored Assembly Bill 1411, authored by Assembly member Eduardo Garcia (D – Coachella), related to the study of fires resulting from excessive lint build-up in clothes dryers.

AB 1411 required the State Fire Marshal to work with fire service entities, the appliance industry, disability advocates, and related stakeholders  in gathering information, and providing findings and recommendations to the Legislature, regarding fires related to type 1 clothes dryers and the dangers of excessive lint. The bill will also help establish a standard regarding the detection of excessive lint and notification of the excessive lint to consumers.
The legislation was sponsored by CSFA after review of statistics related to fires caused by excessive lint. According to statistics compiled by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA,) between 2006 – 2010, there were 16,950 home structure fires per year where clothes dryers or washing machines were involved in ignition, with associated annual losses of 34 deaths, 430 injuries, and $209 million in direct property damage. Dryers alone accounted for 92 percent of these fires and 87 percent of the reported deaths. The leading factor contributing to ignition was failure to clean out the lint buildup.

At the bill’s signing, CSFA Executive Director Gene Gantt noted, “The passage of AB 1411 is a huge first step toward establishing a fire prevention standard that will help to minimize loss of life and property due to dryer lint buildup.”
In October of 2016, Executive Director Gantt served on the task force assembled under the direction of the OSFM. Gantt presented a report prepared by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on Electric Clothes Dryers and Lint Ignition Characteristics.

FINDINGS

A review of existing research by the task force found that industry findings that no flames can be produced by dryer lint were “preliminary and inconclusive”, and noted the CPSC tests showed that ignition of lint can occur.
“The findings of this task force are significant,” noted CSFA Legislative Advocate Afrack Vargas. “The task force recommendations position us well to advocate for further study and stronger regulations to preserve life safety.”

RECOMMENDATIONS

The task force established by OSFM met and reviewed the existing information on the cause and frequency of lint fires in Type 1 dryers as well as possible mitigations. The task force recommendation is that work continues on two fronts both in National Code development as well as with manufacturers.

Read the entire report here