October 18, 2018
You probably brush your teeth, wash up, and put on something comfortable before getting into bed—but there is another essential task that you should tack on to that nightly routine. Closing the bedroom door could save your life, in the event of a house fire, Good Houskeeping magazine warned on October 10.
Nearly 60% of people sleep with the bedroom door open, according to a recent survey conducted by the safety certification organization Underwriters Laboratories (UL). However, it turns out that leaving the door ajar is not so smart: A closed door can slow the spread of flames, reduce toxic smoke, improve oxygen levels, and decrease temperatures when a blaze breaks out…
UL says that 30 years ago, you had up to 17 minutes to escape from a house fire, but today’s homes burn more quickly. Why? Open floor plans provide oxygen and don’t provide barriers. And synthetic building materials and furnishings burn at a much faster rate than the natural products used decades ago.
In fact, today, UL says, the average time to escape a home fire has dwindled to just three minutes or less . And during a fire, a closed door can mean the difference between 1,000 degrees and 100 degrees.
“You want to have an escape plan and practice it regularly because there is a limited time window to act,” said Stephen Kerber, director of UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute, told The Washington Post last year. “We can’t emphasize enough: If you can get out, get out.”
The Institute is promoting an effort, called CloseYourDoor.org, to spread the word about fire safety. Kerber hopes that ‘the campaign finds the same cultural ubiquity for fire safety awareness as “Stop, Drop & Roll” has for years.
“What we need is a modern message,” says Kerber. “If ‘Stop, Drop & Roll’ is for when your clothes are on fire, ‘Close Your Door’ is for when your house is on fire and you cannot get out. It’s the modern version of what needs to be done.”
Research contact: @carolinepicard_