Fire Prevention & Safety: Why You Should "Shut The Door"

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( - Home fires are burning faster and becoming more toxic, and according to fire experts, new construction methods and materials are the reason why.


As part of National Fire Prevention Week, the Shelby County Fire Department and ServiceMaster by Cornerstone put out a public service announcement recently.


The message: shut the door. The point is that shutting your bedroom door at night, could buy you time to escape in the event of a fire.


"If you don't shut your door before going to bed and a fire occurs smoke, heat, toxic gases enter your room and you may not survive," said Shelby County Fire Deputy Chief Glen Kneeland in the PSA.


The video was posted to the Shelby County Fire Department's Facebook page.


According to firefighters, new construction methods including open floor plans and new synthetic materials used in building and furniture can cause fires to spread quickly. Shutting the door helps delay the spread of flames and toxic smoke.


"These glues and adhesives can act like an accelerant sometimes when they get hot enough," said Brent Perkins, public information officer with Shelby County Fire.


"After a fire's been burning for 7 minutes, every minute after that it's going to double in size, provided it has heat, fuel, and air," said Perkins.


Plus, new building products when burned add to the danger.


"They begin to soften and can put off some toxic gases and those gases when inhaled can be very, very debilitating," said Perkins, "Complacency can be a killer. Don't take this for granted. We're sitting here talking about it But I think people really ought to go out tonight and do it. Get your family together, talk about it for 15 or 20 minutes."


As a safety precaution, firefighters advise the following:

  • Have a smoke detector inside and outside of every bedroom and change the batteries twice a year.
  • Create an escape plan in advance and practice it.
  • Set a safe meeting place outside.
  • Have two ways out of your bedroom.
  • Never re-enter a burning home.


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