Just in time for National Fire Prevention Week, the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) is reminding people across the U.S. to take one simple action in their homes that could potentially save lives: Close Before You Doze. This vital public safety campaign encourages everyone to close all the doors in their homes each night before bed, following a study conducted by UL FSRI, showing that in a home fire, a closed door can be an effective barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxide, smoke and flames. However, a new consumer survey conducted by UL FSRI showed that many people keep their doors open at night and don't know that a closed door could potentially save their life in a home fire.
Closing doors in home fire incidents A September 2018 report by the NFPA concluded that residents are more likely to die in a home fire today than in 1980
Today, closing your doors is more important than ever, as evolutions 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. 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.
In the recent UL FSRI consumer survey of 3,204 adults across the U.S., less than half of respondents believe that in the event of a fire, it's safer to have their bedroom door closed, and only 29 percent always sleep with their door closed. Only 17 percent of those who sleep with their door closed for safety do so because they think it's safer in a fire. Of those who sleep with the door open for safety, 52 percent do so because they mistakenly think it's safer in case of a fire.
"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," said Steve Kerber, director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute. "It is a very simple behavior change that can help save your life and your loved ones."
Effective fire escape plan
UL FSRI gathered a group of unsuspecting everyday people to ask them about their safety concernsRelated specifically to families, additional key findings in UL FSRI's survey showed a low awareness of this potentially life-saving tip among parents, as 57 percent cite having a fire escape plan for their home, yet nearly as many are sleeping with their own door open. Among those families with senior citizens in their home, a third do not have a fire escape plan, and just 56 percent felt they could realistically evacuate their entire household in five minutes or less in the event of a fire.
A closed door can not only serve as a protective barrier in a home fire but can help buy the time needed to safely escape or for emergency help to arrive. Understanding how important it is for people to see for themselves how significant of an impact a closed door can have in a house fire, UL FSRI gathered a group of unsuspecting everyday people to ask them about their safety concerns and what they perceive to be true about house fires.
The group was introduced to Steve Kerber and his team, then witnessed a house burned with one-bedroom door open and one closed. Following the demonstration, the group was able to tour the house and see the real-life impact of a closed door compared to an open door. The demonstration and reactions were captured and can be viewed at CloseYourDoor.org.