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Safet experts are urging people to close their bedroom doors before going to sleep.

According to a recent survey by the safety science organization UL, nearly 60% of people sleep with their bedroom door open. It sounds a bit crazy, but the simple act of closing your bedroom door could mean the difference between life or death during a house fire. Not only does it reduce toxic smoke, but it can help stop flames from spreading into your room by restricting oxygen and decreasing temperatures.

In the event your house catches on fire and your bedroom door is closed, you have more time to react to the smoke alarm going off.

Because of the harmful plastic and chemicals found in modern furniture, every second counts. According to the UL, 30 years ago you had up to 17 minutes to escape a house fire, but today you have just three minutes or less due to open floor plans and flammable materials found in furniture. A report in 2018 by the National Fire Protection Agency concluded that residents are more likely to die in a home fire today than in 1980.

I myself sleep with the door open because I have this feeling I can escape faster. But sometimes time is your friend, not your enemy. In an effort to change that misconception, UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has launched the Close Before You Doze campaign that aims to raise awareness about keeping your door closed at night.

“As fire service researchers and professionals, we encourage people to take several precautions and have an evacuation plan but closing doors at night is one simple and quick routine that anyone can adopt right now,” Steve Kerber, director of the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, said in a release. “It is a very simple behavior change that can help save your life and your loved ones.”

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