What if you were told that closing your bedroom door at night could save your life or your house in the event of a fire? Within a few minutes, a fire can spread throughout an entire house, and having your door closed could literally mean the difference between life and death.
On March 9, Station 5 Bonnyville responded at 5:55 a.m. to a structure fire in the 4700 block of 39 St. On arrival, a fire was discovered in a basement bedroom.
“The fire was knocked down quickly and contained to the bedroom only, however, the room was heavily damaged,” Dan Heney Regional Fire Chief of the Bonnyville Regional Fire Authority (BRFA) said. “None of the home occupants were injured.”
The BRFA would like to highlight that the occupant who discovered the fire closed the bedroom door when they were evacuating the home, and this is a major reason why the fire was contained to the bedroom.
“Closed doors significantly slow the spread of fire within a building,” Heney said. “Further, the home was equipped with functional smoke detectors that sounded early and alerted the occupants.”
The unthinkable could happen in an instant, but being ready and communicating to your family or roommates on what to do in event of a fire could save your loved ones.
About 40 years ago, people had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the activation of a smoke alarm. Today, that window has shrunk to about three minutes or less. Natural furnishings and building materials have given way to synthetics, which burn much faster. Combine that with the popularity of open floor plans, and it becomes the perfect habitat for an escalating fire.
To increase your chances of survival during a fast-moving house fire, think about and practice the following:
- Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in working condition. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Smoke alarms should be interconnected. When one sounds, they all sound. Test them monthly.
- Close your doors at night.
- If a fire ignites and you can get out of the burning structure, do so quickly and close every door behind you as you exit. If you can, put a closed door between you and the fire to buy yourself valuable time. Don’t ever go back inside a burning home.
- For parents worried about hearing their child through a closed door, place a baby monitor in the child’s room. If you can’t get to their room because you’re cut off by smoke, know that the closed door will provide a safety barrier, giving them more time for help to arrive.
- Have an escape plan. Identify multiple escape routes from every room and practice them as a family.
Take these fire safety and prevention steps and discuss them with your family and friends. You’ll sleep easier at night.