Close the door on fire

Even though school is out, fire safety is still in session this summer and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) is reminding Volunteer State residents of the lifesaving capabilities of a common household fixture: a door.

A closed door can hinder flames and smoke from spreading to other rooms and can help deprive a fire of the oxygen it needs to grow, limiting the structural damage a fire can cause and, most importantly, saving lives.

Closing the door can stop the spread of fire in a home allowing time to find alternate escape routes or shelter in place until help arrives. The extra time bought by closing the door has never been more crucial.

Forty years ago, residents had over 17 minutes to escape a home fire with their lives—that number is now under three minutes. UL cites changing home construction trends, like open floor plans and new construction materials, as one reason for the reduction in time occupants have to escape. Closing the door works in conjunction with interconnected smoke alarms.

The SFMO encourages Tennesseans to remember the following tips related to closing the door:

• Close the bedroom door when sleeping, if possible. Remember to have smoke alarms inside and outside of each sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure your alarms are interconnected—when one sounds, they all will sound.

• Close the door behind you when escaping a room or building that is one fire.

• If you are unable to escape a building that is on fire, close all doors between you and the fire. Use towels or sheets to seal the door cracks and cover air vents.

• Keep fire doors closed. These specialized doors are used to compartmentalize a building and prevent the spread of smoke and flames.

For more information about “Close the Door” and other crucial fire safety measures, visit