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Close Before You Doze
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By PIO / Fire Prevention Officer Scot Best
March 25, 2021

You know how important it is to have working smoke alarms, escape plans, and a designated meeting place in case of a fire. But, did you know that closing your doors in your home is also important for your safety? Closed doors can reduce fire growth and smoke spread, limit damage to your home, keep temperatures down, and can even save your life if you become trapped.

According to the Underwriters Laboratories Firefighter Safety Research Institute (UL FSRI; https://ulfirefightersafety.org) “Close Before You Doze” campaign (https://closeyourdoor.org/), straightforward actions and simple behavioral changes can provide critical help in delaying the spread of fire. This does not require major effort or going out and buying anything special. Simply close your doors.

Starting in 2008, UL FSRI began researching the effect of doors and windows on a fire’s spread. Bedrooms on the first and second floor of a home were tested during various scenarios. Using thermal imaging cameras, researchers found that closed-door rooms on both floors during the fire’s spread had average temperatures of less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit versus 1000+ degrees in the open-door rooms. This is a markable difference, in that a person could be alive in a room with a closed door much longer. Gas concentrations were markedly different as well. The open-door bedroom measured an extremely toxic 10,000 PPM CO (parts per million of Carbon Monoxide), while the closed had approximately 100 PPM CO.

US FSRI researchers recommend sleeping with the bedroom door closed. If there is a fire, there is very little time to react. Years of research has shown how much safer the occupants would be when they were behind a closed door. “If you are a parent with children in the home and that smoke alarm goes off”, advises UL FSRI, “potentially you cannot get to your children’s room because you’re cut off by smoke. If you close their door before you go to bed, if you’ve already put that safety barrier in place, then you know your children have longer to survive in that situation.”

Based on the research, ‘Close Your Door’ encourages those both trapped in a room during a fire, as well as those who can safely leave a home, to close as many doors as possible. During a home fire escape, many have the idea that ‘There’s smoke in my house, I need to let the smoke out.’ While, yes, you are letting the smoke out, more importantly, you are letting the air (oxygen) in. This is where the problem occurs. With the doors and windows closed, the fire will not have oxygen to burn and it is going to stay more contained. This gives others in the house more time to get out, and helps protect your property.


Things to remember:

FIRE IS GETTING FASTER - Because of synthetic materials, furniture, and construction, fire spreads faster than ever before. Closing doors helps stop the spread of fire.

MAKE A 900 DEGREE DIFFERENCE - Research proves a closed door can mean the difference between 1,000 degrees and 100 degrees in the event of a fire.

TAKE IT DOWN A NOTCH - During a fire, a closed door can keep carbon monoxide levels at 1,000 PPM verses 10,000 PPM when a door is left open.

TAKE A BREATHER - A fire needs oxygen to burn. A closed door keeps more oxygen in the room and away from the fire. When you exit a fire, make sure to close your door behind you to slow down its growth.

DOZE SAFELY - 50% of house fires happen between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Closing your doors before you go to sleep helps keep you safe.


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Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Inc.
13820 Point Lookout Road
P.O. Box 520
Ridge, MD 20680
Emergency Dial 911
Non-Emergency: 301-872-5571
E-mail: info@ridgevfd.org
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