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Why Closing the Bedroom Door at Night Could Save Your Life

Why Closing the Bedroom Door at Night Could Save Your Life
Doorway leading into bedroom

 

Your nightly routine can (and should) include brushing your teeth, washing your face, and getting into comfy PJs, but new information shows that most Americans skip a very important step before climbing into bed.

Nearly 60% of people sleep with their bedroom door open, according to a recent survey conducted by the safety science organization UL. That simple choice could mean life or death in the event of a house fire, as a closed door can slow the spread of flames, reduce toxic smoke, improve oxygen levels, and decrease temperatures.

With the increased use of synthetics in furniture and home construction, closing the door could make all the difference when it comes to getting out safely. The average time to escape a home fire has gone from 17 minutes to just three minutes or less in the past few decades due to flammable materials and contemporary open floor plans.

The "Close Before You Doze" campaign aims to share how closed doors can help save people's lives. In one eye-opening demonstration, the group showed how a fire burns in a closed room versus an open one. The side-by-side video footage reveals what an impact a door can make.

Start making it a habit to close not only your own bedroom door at night, but your kids' rooms as well. It's also a good time to test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, check your home for potential fire hazards, and review your family's escape plan, or create one if you haven't already. Those small precautions could make all the difference.

Here’s Why Closing Your Bedroom Door Can Save Your Life In A Fire

Here’s Why Closing Your Bedroom Door Can Save Your Life In A Fire
Do you sleep with your bedroom door open or closed?

No one wants to think about a home catching on fire. But if it were to happen, there are ways to increase your and your family’s chance of survival.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, a house fire occurs somewhere in the United States every 88 seconds. Perhaps even more startling, innovations in home furnishings, layouts, and construction over the last 40 years have reduced the average time to escape a home fire from 17 minutes to three minutes or less.

The UL Firefighters Safety Research Institute is on a mission to educate people about a simple and effective method that provides critical minutes to save lives in the event of a fire. Called “Close Before You Doze,” the advice is simple: simply close your door before going to sleep at night.

After more than a decade of research, FSRI found that closing your door can slow fire spreading, reduce toxic smoke levels, improve oxygen levels and decrease temperatures — all which increase the chances of survival. The temperature of a room on fire with the door closed is around 100 degrees. With the door open? More than 1,000 degrees.

“As fire service researchers and professionals, we encourage people to take several precautions and have an evacuation plan, but closing doors at night is one simple and quick routine that anyone can adopt right now,” Steve Kerber, director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, said in a press release. “It is a very simple behavior change that can help save your life and your loved ones.”

 

The campaign also found that the average person is not aware of the dramatic impact this simple step can have in the event of a life-or-death situation. After surveying more than 3,204 U.S. adults, UL FSRI found 52 percent believe having the door open will make the room more breathable and only 17 percent of people who sleep with their door closed do so because they believe it to be safer in a fire.

Fundamentally, keeping a door shut is important for cutting off a fire’s oxygen supply.

“People think, ‘Well, there’s smoke in my house. I want to let the smoke out,’” Kerber said on their website. “Yes, you’re letting the smoke out, but you’re letting the air in, and that’s where the problem occurs. With the doors and windows closed, the fire won’t have oxygen to burn and it’s going to stay right there, giving other people in the house more time to get out and also helping protect your property.”

house fire photo
Getty Images | David McNew

 

Of course, if you are able to safely evacuate your home in case of a fire, you should do so. If you are trapped inside, however, keep doors closed!

When Wildfire Smoke Comes to Town: What Firefighters Want You To Know

When Wildfire Smoke Comes to Town: What Firefighters Want You To Know

 

Living in a “wildfire zone” is a reality for an estimated 6.7 million people in the United States. If you live in one of these areas, there’s a lot you can do to be prepared. Here are some of the precautions you and your family can take to improve your odds of staying safe in the event of a wildfire.

 

Part 1: Don’t Be the Cause of a Wildfire 

Use Safety Circles for, and Maintain Power Tools

Building a fence? Cutting down a tree? There are a number of ways the power tools you use can start fires. Sparks, damaged cords, and overheated batteries can and have started wildfires. Make sure your power tools are in good working condition. Be sure to have a fire safety circle around your power tools any time you’re using them and keep an eye out for smoke and sparks. If possible have a hose or bucket of water nearby.

Never Leave Your Barbecue or Fire Pit Unattended

An unattended barbecue can grill more than hamburger patties. If you’re grilling out, stay outside near the barbecue and keep an eye on it. The same goes for fire pits. Sparks from fire pits can rise up into the air and be carried by the wind. Use a screen to help control sparks and never leave a fire pit unattended.

Tend to Controlled Burns

Burning brush around your home can easily get out of control. Make sure you’re burning on a “burn day,” and follow your local guidelines on how big a fire can be. Keep a large safety circle around you fire site. Have running water and shovels on standby and make sure the fire is out before leaving the pile (you may have to watch it into the night). Fires can reignite and smoulder for hours and even days, so be careful.

Don’t Use Heat Lamps

Heat lamps can tip over and light surrounding items on fire. Avoid using them if you live in a wildfire zone. If you do use heat lamps, never leave it on and unattended. Avoid using it in the dry months.

 

Part 2: Be Prepared and Protect Yourself: 

Have a Family Evacuation Plan and Safe Meetup Location

Make sure your family has an evacuation plan that you practice regularly. If you have children, make sure they know what to do if they smell smoke or hear a fire alarm. Incase one of your family members is off-site, agree on a meetup location “in town” or in a safe space away from your homestead. Never go back into a burning zone.

Plan for Your Pets and Animals

If you have pets and livestock, make sure you have transportation, food, and water on-hand and ready to go if a fire breaks out.

Make a Defensible Space Around Your Home

Clear brush within 30 feet of your home. Clear tree limbs within 10 feet. Keep woodpiles 100 feet away from your home. For more, click here. Plant fire-resistant plants instead of fast-burning ones.

Check and Maintain Your Smoke Alarms

Make sure your smoke alarms are new, working, and have fresh batteries. Interconnected smoke alarms are recommended because when one goes off, they all go off. Check them regularly, and make sure they are installed correctly.

Install Extra Indoor Protection

A closed door can limit the spread of a fire in a home, giving you additional time to evacuate or be rescued. Install a system such as LifeDoor that automatically closes your interior doors in the event of a fire. Indoor residential sprinkler systems, such as Home Fire Sprinkler can help suppress fires that start in the home, giving you more time to get out.

Check Your Fire Insurance Policy

Make sure your fire insurance policy covers everything you want it to, from wildfires to domestic fires. It’s better to review it now, than to find out you don’t have the coverage you wanted after a fire.

 

Part 3: If a Wildfire Breaks Out

Get Your Family And Get Out

The earlier you get out the better. Gather your framily and get out as soon as possible. Depending on how far you live from safety, roads may be closed or consumed by fire and smoke, so give yourself all the time you need to get out.

Get Your Pets & Livestock

This is the time to gather your pets and livestock and get out. Make sure you have leashes, and crates nearby and ready to go.

Shut off Gas and Propane

If there is time, shut off gas and propane to your house.

Close All Doors and Windows

If there is time, close all the doors and windows in your home. A closed door can buy your house time for first responders to save what they can of your home.

In Conclusion

Living in a wildfire zone is always a risk, so be prepared and have a plan to get out and let the firefighting professionals do their job.

 

About The LifeDoor Institute

The LifeDoor Institute is the public safety division of LifeDoor, a firefighter-founded company dedicated to saving lives with awareness, education, and technology. LifeDoor’s first product automatically closes bedroom doors in the event of a fire, preventing and slowing the spread of fires and deadly smoke, giving occupants more time to escape or be rescued. To learn more, visit www.lifedoor.io