3 On Your Side Investigates: Close your bedroom door to slow a q - WLBT.com - Jackson, MS

3 On Your Side Investigates: Close your bedroom door to slow a quickly-spreading fire

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

We all think it will never happen: ripped from your sleep to a piercing alarm, terrifying flames and a thick black smoke choking your lungs.  

For most fire survivors, the smoke lingers in their memories. 

But you might not know, the simple act of closing your bedroom door each night before you go to sleep could buy your family life-saving seconds in a fire. 

Brandon Fire Division Chief Benjamin Warren says a closed bedroom door keeps the smoke out and the heat away.

"Trying to stop or slow smoke movement from the area of origin of the fire into the sleeping areas where people may be at night, and since they're asleep they're not in tune to the warning signs or the danger of the fire," he says. 

To test it out, a fire prevention expert set a small flaming fire on a couch in a home with an open floor plan. 

Upstairs are two bedrooms, one with the door open and one with the door closed. 

A minute and a half in, smoke is pouring into the room with the door open. In just three minutes, that room is filled with toxic black smoke. 

At five minutes, the entire house is pitch black. But in the room with the door shut, there's still visibility and air. 

The closed door changes the flow of dangerous heat and toxic gases in a fire. 

"If you isolate off the bedroom door, then that gives you that barrier, that extra amount of time," Warren tells us.  

Parents might think their children won't sleep with the door shut. Firefighters advise that parents make a habit of closing their doors after they fall asleep.

But, Warren says, a working smoke detector should always be a first line of defense. 

"As soon as that fire starts, starts producing smoke, you want to be awakened, and then you want to have the options of either going out through the door or going out through a window," Warren says. 

The National Fire Protection Association has some guidelines for creating a fire escape plan in your home: 

  • Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes.  Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home and marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. Also, mark the location of each smoke alarm.
  • Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. National Fire Alarm Code requires interconnected smoke alarms throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
  • Everyone in the household must understand the escape plan. When you walk through your plan, check to make sure the escape routes are clear and doors and windows can be opened easily.

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