Here's How Sleeping With Your Door Closed Could Save Your Life, According to Fire Safety Experts

Here’s How Sleeping With Your Door Closed Could Save Your Life, According to Fire Safety Experts

House fires are more common than we imagine them to be. The U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 355,400 home structure fires every year; resulting in almost $8 billion in damages annually. According to Fire Safety Experts, it takes less than 30 seconds for a small flame to get out of control and start a fire in your home. In such situations, time is of the essence and people need to respond quickly. The thick black smoke that fills up can be harmful if inhaled and also makes it hard to see. According to the Overland Park Fire Department officials, closing your door at night can actually save your life in case of a house fire. Here’s why…

Most house fires start in the kitchen, while candles cause approximately 9,300 home fires and cost the US an average of $374 million in property damage.

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House fires spread faster than we imagine. It takes just 30 seconds for a small flame to get out of control and start a fire in your home. Within a few minutes, they can create thick black smoke that fills up your home. At this point, you only have enough time to escape rather than save your precious belongings, since flames move extremely fast.

According to the U.S. Fire Association, toxic gases and smoke cause more harm than fire itself. Research shows that during a house fire, rooms with open doors can reach over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A simple way to reduce fire from spreading to your room is to keep your door closed. Of course, it’s important to have smoke detectors in every room of your house, but shutting your bedroom door can stave off the fire for an extra 20 – 30 minutes; depending.

Keeping your door closed can keep your room under 100 degrees during a fire.

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Overland Park Fire Department officials say it could save your life.

“Our safety message we want to get out to the public is that at night, when you’re sleeping, close that bedroom door. That way if there is a fire, there’s more time to get out of your home before that smoke and heat enters your bedroom,” said Mike Morgan, a fire training officer with the Overland Park Fire Department.

According to Maria Pina with Colorado River Fire Rescue:

It’s that simple – and it can be a major difference between life and afterlife. Of course, you should have smoke detectors in every room of your house, but shutting your bedroom door and stave off the fire for an extra 20 – 30 minutes.

“We want people to change their smoke detector batteries, that’s the first line of defense,” Pina says. “But I always try to think about simple lifestyle changes that people can change now.”

She talks about a recent fire her department dealt with at a home; the fire raged outside the toddlers room but his door was shut. Pina says he was fine.

“If the door would have been open, it could have been a different result,” she says.

Nearly 60% of people sleep with their bedroom door open, according to a recent survey conducted by the safety science organization UL.

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In the event of a house fire, a closed door can slow the spread of flames, reduce toxic smoke, improve oxygen levels, and decrease temperatures. 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 the increased use of synthetics in furniture and home construction. Most people who sleep with the door open do so because they mistakenly believe it’s safer — but it’s the exact opposite of what firefighters recommend.

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has launched a new public safety effort to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week. The “Close Before You Doze” campaign aims to share how closed doors can help save people’s lives.

Other benefits to keeping your door closed is the fact that it limits your carbon monoxide exposure and reduces smoke inhalation. Closed doors also cut off oxygen to a fire, thus keeping it from spreading rapidly.

Start making it a habit to close not only your own bedroom door at night, but every other doors in your house.

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Image: Fire Marshall’s Office

Also, ensure that smoke detectors installed throughout your house are functional, check your home for potential fire hazards, and create an escape plan. If there are different occupants in the house, then have a detailed plan for each individual to ensure that they can safely get out before the fire spreads throughout the house. Small precautions could make all the difference.

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