Many people prefer to sleep with the bedroom door open. After all, it ensures better air regulation and lets parents hear if their kids wake up during the night. However, a closed-door can help the occupants survive a house fire, according to 10 years of research by UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI). However, this research only contributes to what firefighters have already witnessed.
For example, firefighters Vincent Harrison and Kyle Ballinger were searching an burning house when they heard a girl calling for help. Despite the blackened and smoke-covered home, the girl’s room was clean. “There was no smoke in the room, it was completely clear,” Ballinger said. “I noticed that there was no soot on her; she didn’t have any signs of smoke inhalation or anything like that. She was just completely clean due to the closed door.” 
The Close Before You Doze Campaign
FSRI found that closing bedroom doors at night could save lives since it can slow the spread of a house fire. The research focused on how doors and windows can contribute to the spread. To prove their theory, they tested bedrooms on the main floor and second floor of homes.
“Close Before You Doze’ focuses on straightforward actions and simple behavioral changes which can provide critical help in delaying the spread of fire. This doesn’t require major effort or going out and buying anything,” said FSRI Vice President of Research Stephen Kerber. 
The researchers found that closed doors can lower the temperature of the room during a fire, as opposed to rooms with open doors. “You could see a markable difference that a person could be alive in a room with a closed-door much longer,” said Kerber. The closed-door rooms also had lower gas concentrations.
The layout of modern homes requires more fire safety techniques than ever. Kerber explained, “We started to see that the furnishings, open layout, and construction materials of modern homes allow the fire to spread and become more toxic much faster. It all leads to less time to get out of the home.” In fact, the average time to escape a home fire has gone from 17 minutes to just three minutes.
Close the Bedroom Door
Therefore, Kerber recommends “sleep with the bedroom door closed” since “if there is a fire, there is no time to act” according to the FSRI’s research. “If you are a parent with children in the home and that smoke alarm goes off,” said Kerber, “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.”
He added that some people might want to open doors to let the smoke out, but that will allow oxygen in, feeding the fire. Therefore, it’s ideal to close doors as much as possible during a fire, of course, as long as doing so is safe. This can help give other people in the house more time to escape as well.
Kerber hopes to spread the message of practical, non-complicated fire safety.
“What we need is a modern message,” he said. “If stop, drop and roll is for when your clothes are on fire, ‘Close Before You Doze’ is for when your house is on fire and you cannot get out. It’s the modern version of what needs to be done.”
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Other Important Fire Safety Measures
Closing your bedroom door is one small fire precaution but there are many others. This can include testing smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, checking the home for fire hazards, and creating a fire escape plan for the family. This plan should include a place to meet up, crawling beneath the smoke, testing doorknobs for heat, and to stand by the window if they can’t escape. And once the escape plan is created, it should be routinely reviewed and practiced. People, especially children, are prone to panic in emergency situations, so it’s imperative to know what to do beforehand. 
Other preventative measures include: