UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) is issuing a call to action to the public on fire safety preparedness this Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 6-12, 2019). Dedicated to advancing fire research knowledge and public safety, UL FSRI hopes to heighten awareness of the fire safety measures and preventative actions people can take to help protect themselves and their loved ones – from closing bedrooms doors to having working smoke alarms and checking them regularly.
While people may know about these two life-saving measures, only 26% of Americans always sleep with their bedroom doors closed and only 23% check their smoke alarms monthly, according to data from a new consumer survey conducted by UL FSRI. This data shows that it is more important than ever this Fire Prevention Week to spread the Close Before You Doze message and help ensure people know that smoke alarms save lives.
Close Before You Doze
UL FSRI’s Close Before You Doze campaign reminds people to close all doors in their homes before bedtime as this can help create a barrier against deadly levels of carbon monoxide, smoke and flames, and potentially save someone’s life.
Firefighters across the country have underscored this message, sharing firsthand experiences of lives that were saved on account of a closed door. In collaboration with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia, UL FSRI released today a dramatic video featuring firefighters’ helmet camera footage as they extinguished a house fire and conducted a search inside the home. A girl was found alive and well in a room that was protected from the fire and kept survivable by a closed door while the rest of the home was engulfed in smoke.
“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.”
New smoke alarm technology
Forty years ago, people had 17 minutes to escape their home in the event of a fire. Today, fire is 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 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. 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