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'Close before you doze': The simple trick can save your life in a fire

Posted at 10:03 PM, Oct 30, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-30 23:11:38-04

Before you go to bed at night, there is one simple thing you can do that can mean the difference in surviving a fire.

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute said everyone needs to close their doors. An open door can cause a room to rapidly rise to 1,000 degrees while a closed door room stays in the 100s. 

The Johnston family in Glendale does not usually think about whether the doors are open or closed at night. Their son, 5-year-old Nathaniel likes his open.

"Sometimes I have bad dreams," said Nathanial Johnston.

But his older sisters regularly change their minds.

"Sometimes we keep it open," said Jocelyn Johnston, 9.

Their mother, Fenesha Johnston said she lets them decide.

But new research from UL found that decision can significantly alter your chance of surviving a fire.

TODAY'S TMJ4 put it to the test with the North Shore Fire Department. Lt. Dan Tyk started a simulated fire in their safety house. One bedroom door was left open and one was closed. Tyk stood behind the closed door.

"You can see we have a little bit of whispy smoke in here but this is a really survivable atmosphere," said Tyk. "We could be in this for minutes definitely until firefighters arrived." 

Just across the house was the open door. Tyk went into that room. Visibility was almost at zero.

"This is a fatal atmosphere," said Tyk.

UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute backs that up with its own video that show the aftermath of a fire. The room with the door closed had barely any damage. The room with the door open, covered in soot.  We showed Fenesha Johnston that video.

"A full solid door can make the difference between fully engulfed room or my child is safe at night," said Johnston.

The UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute have started a new campaign called Close Your Door where you can take a pledge to keep your door shut.