Close Before You Doze!
Why keeping your bedroom door closed during a fire may save your life!
Modern home furnishing made from synthetic materials burn far faster than “old” style cotton and wood furnishing. Before, you would have nearly 17 minutes to escape your home, today that number is 3 minutes.
Most fire deaths occur at night, between 11 pm and 7 am. By closing your doors before you go to sleep, you keep you and your family safe!
- Heat: Closed doors can make a 900-degree difference in temperature. Outside a room maybe 1000 degrees from heat and smoke, but inside a closed-door room, the temperature can be 100 degrees.
- Carbon Monoxide: A deadly byproduct of fire is carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can kill. A closed door can decrease the amount of carbon monoxide 10 times.
- Oxygen: Fire requires oxygen to grow, keeping the door closed stops more oxygen from fueling the fire. When you leave your room, apartment, or home, close the door behind you to prevent the fire from growing larger!
By keeping your door closed at night, you can protect yourself and your family in the event of a fire from the rapidly growing heat and smoke. However, there are three ways to protect yourself along with keeping the door closed.
1. Have working smoke alarms
Smoke alarms give you and your loved ones the earliest warning possible that there is a fire, so you can get out of your home quickly and safely. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home. Check your smoke alarms twice a year and replace them once they stop working according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. When replacing or buying new smoke alarms, look for products that are third-party listed or certified.
2. Keep your door closed
A closed door can be an effective barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxide, smoke, and flames, and may give you more time to respond to the smoke alarm. There can be a 900-degree temperature difference between a room with an open door and one with a closed door. While a room with an open door may reach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit a room with a closed door may only reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Make closing doors at night part of your bedtime routine.
3. Have an escape plan
If there is a fire in your home, there won’t be time to plan a way out in the moment. Create an escape plan for your home and practice it with your family so you’re ready for a fire emergency. Don’t wait, plan. Make sure your Fire Escape Plan includes a Plan A, B, and C!
Home Fire Escape Plan
Having a home fire plan that everyone in your family understands can be the difference between life and death in case of an emergency. Sit down with our family today and make an easy step-by-step plan for escaping the home in case of a fire because once a fire starts, there is NO time to plan how to get out.
PLAN YOUR ESCAPE
Draw a floor Plan of your Home, marking two ways out of every room - especially sleeping areas. Discuss the escape routes with every member of your household.
Agree on a Meeting Place, where every member of the household will gather outside your home after escaping a fire to wait for the fire department. This allows you to count heads and inform the fire department if anyone is missing or trapped inside the burning building.
Practice your escape plan at least twice a year. Have a fire drill in your home and make everybody participate so that if a fire happens, each family member will be familiar with the plan. This is very important in helping young children learn how to react in case of an alarm. Remember, a fire drill is not a race, so get out quickly, but carefully.
MAKE YOUR EXIT DRILL REALISTIC
Make sure everyone in the household can unlock all doors and windows quickly, even in the dark. Pretend that some exits are blocked by fire, and try to practice a second escape route from each room. Pretend that the lights are out and that some escape routes are filling with smoke, and try to get out of the house by ‘feeling’ your way out.
If you live in an apartment building, use stairways to escape. NEVER use an elevator during a fire.
If you live in a multi-story house and you must escape from an upper-story window, be sure there is a safe way to reach the ground, such as a fire-resistant fire escape ladder. Make special arrangements for children, older adults, and people with disabilities.
Test doors before opening them.
When you come to a closed door, kneel and reach up as high as you can, and with the back of your hand touch the door, the knob, and the crack between the door and its frame. If it feels hot, use another escape route. If the door feels cool, open it slowly. If you have heat and smoke come in through the door, close it and use your alternate escape route.
If you are trapped, close all doors between you and the fire. Stuff the cracks around the doors to keep out smoke. Wait at a window and signal for help with a flashlight or by waving a light-colored cloth. If there is a phone in the room, call 911 and report exactly where you are.
GET OUT FAST . . .
In case of a fire, don't stop for anything. Remember, smoke contains deadly gases and heat rises. During a fire, cleaner air will be near the floor. If you encounter smoke when using your primary exit, use an alternative escape route. If you must exit through smoke, crawl on your hands and knees, keeping your head 12 to 24 inches above the floor.
Once you are out of the house, STAY OUT. Do not try to rescue possessions or pets, and do not go back into the house for any reason. Go directly to your meeting place, and then call the fire department from a neighbor's phone or a cell phone. If people are trapped, the firefighters have the best chance of rescuing them. The heat and smoke of a fire are overpowering, but firefighters have the training, experience, and protective equipment needed to enter burning buildings.
Download and print these handouts to help teach family and friends about planning your home fire escape! Use the Map to Draw your home and route an escape plan for kids and adults in the home!