Half of house fires happen between 11pm and 7am, a time in which most of us would not be conscious enough to know something’s going on. This is terrifying, but there’s an easy thing you can do to help you survive: Close your bedroom door before you go to bed.
This message comes from the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI), which found over a decade of research that the simple act could have a “potentially life-saving impact.” The more oxygen a fire has, the faster it spreads, so a closed door can offer protection. (Also, if you ever must exit a fire, close the door behind you to slow down its growth.) Between a room with an open door and one with a closed door, there can be a 480-degree difference. Watch how a fire impacts these two bedrooms, which are located side by side, adjacent to a burning living room.
These days, house fires are more dangerous than ever, as the synthetic materials we use allow fire to spread more quickly than it did in previous generations. (Thirty years ago, you would have had about 17 minutes to escape. Now you have just three minutes.)
In addition to having everyone in your family to close their doors before going to sleep, make sure you have working smoke alarms, review your evacuation plan and check for common household fire hazards. These simple precautions may make all the difference.