According to a new UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute “Close Before You Doze” survey, 49% of respondents believe it’s safer to sleep with the door closed in the event of a fire, yet only 26% always sleep with their bedroom door closed.
As you know, UL FSRI’s “Close Before You Doze” campaign reminds people to close all doors in their homes before bedtime, creating a barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxide, smoke and flames, and potentially saving someone’s life in the event of a house fire.
Recently, firefighters in Virginia saw firsthand the power of a closed door in an incredible video when they discovered a young girl shut in her bedroom as her house burned down around her. The video with helmet camera footage of this rescue can be viewed here.
“This video vividly shows how this simple step can make all the difference in surviving a fire,” said Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Fire Chief, John S. Butler. “It reduces the temperature of the room, blocks deadly levels of carbon monoxide and gives valuable time for firefighters to arrive. Simply put, the ‘it won’t happen to me’ approach can have significant consequences, but a closed door and working smoke alarms can be easy and effective safeguards.”
Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12) offers a great opportunity to absorb the lesson found in this video and to look over additional key findings from this new survey:
- One third of Americans (33%) mistakenly believe it is safer to have their bedroom door open in the event of a fire, and 40% believe rooms with open doors are more breathable in the event of a fire.
- People are changing their behavior, evidenced by an increase in Americans who sleep with the door closed because they believe it is safer in case of a fire – up to 25% in 2019 from 17% in 2018.
- When people hear the “Close Before Your Doze” message, they make real change with 91% of Americans who have seen or read about the campaign sharing that they now close the doors in their house before going to sleep.
- 59% of Americans have a fire escape plan, but 43% have reviewed it once or never at all.
- Most Americans (62%) have one to three working smoke alarms in their house, but only 23% check them once a month, the recommended frequency.
Additionally, UL FSRI is spending this week alerting people that the UL Standard for smoke alarms was recently updated to require new technology that enable alarms to better differentiate the smoke from cooking and that of an actual, potentially life-threatening fire.
Forty years ago, people had 17 minutes to escape their home in the event of a fire. Today, fire moves faster due to synthetic fabrics in furniture, lighter construction materials, and open floor plans, leaving people with less than three minutes to escape. Every one of these minutes counts and smoke alarms can give people the earliest warning possible that there’s a fire, so they can get out quickly and safely.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) cite cooking nuisance alarms as the leading reason for a smoke alarm to be disabled. This practice is extremely dangerous as the NFPA also shares that roughly three out of five home-fire deaths occur in residences where there are no working smoke alarms.
This Fire Prevention Week and year-round, taking note of these simple actions could save your life:
- Have working smoke alarms on every floor of your home, including in and outside every sleeping area
- Have an escape plan and practice it, know how to get out if there is a fire
- Close Before You Doze, put that barrier between you and a fire to buy precious time for help to arrive
About UL FSRI
UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) advances fire research knowledge and develops cutting edge, practical fire service education aimed at helping firefighters stay safe while more effectively protecting people and property. Guided by a global advisory board comprised of fire service personnel, UL FSRI investigates residential, commercial, and industrial fires through full-scale testing, field-testing, and modeling to replicate actual fires faced by firefighters. Research results are shared through interactive training courses that have reached hundreds of thousands of firefighters globally. To learn more, visit ULFirefighterSafety.org. Follow UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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