Sleeping With The Bedroom Door Closed Could Save Your Life In A Fire

Safety experts are urging people to add this simple task to their nighttime routines.

There's one more thing that experts are urging people to add to their nighttime routine—and no, it's not flossing.

According to a recent survey by the safety science organization Underwriters Laboratories, nearly 60% of people sleep with their bedroom door open. It may seem silly, but as Good Housekeeping points out, the simple act of closing your bedroom door could mean the difference between life or death in the event of a house fire. That's because in addition to reducing toxic smoke, a closed door can help to limit the spread of flames by restricting oxygen and decreasing temperatures. Read on to see how it works.

Closed Bedroom Door Fire Safety
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How Closing a Door Helps

Closing a door can mean a difference of 1,000 degrees in a room with an open door and 100 degrees in a room with a closed door. It also significantly keeps carbon monoxide levels down.

By limiting a fire's ability to spread, closing your bedroom door at night also gives you more time to react when the smoke alarm goes off. And these days, every second counts. Because of the plastics in most modern furniture, house fires are more toxic and spread faster than ever before. The average time to escape a home fire has gone from 17 minutes to just three minutes or less in recent decades due to the prevalence of flammable materials and open floor plans. In fact, a September 2018 report by the National Fire Protection Agency concluded that residents are more likely to die in a home fire today than in 1980.

Campaign to Save Lives

Unfortunately, most people sleep with the door open because they're under the impression that it's safer. In an effort to change that misconception, UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has launched the Close Before You Doze campaign, which aims to demonstrate how closed doors can help save lives.

"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, vice president and executive director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, said in a release. "It is a very simple behavior change that can help save your life and your loved ones."

Important Safety Tips

In the event of a fire, close the door behind you if you do leave a room, and close as many doors as possible if you can safely exit. This prevents oxygen from leaving the room and feeding the fire and gives you more time to get out. Leaving doors closed also gives you some time to figure out an escape, call 911, or wait for firefighters to find you if you can't leave a room.

In addition to keeping doors closed at night, don't forget other important fire safety rules. Make sure you have working smoke detectors inside and outside of every bedroom and on every level in your home. If there is a fire, this helps alert family members right away. Be sure to check that they are working properly monthly.

If your smoke alarm does go off, you may not know where the fire is, so it's important to have a plan with escape routes from every room and a meeting place for family members outside the house.

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