OFD reminder: Close Before You Doze

Published 1:29 am Saturday, February 16, 2019

The Opp Fire Department is urging citizens of Covington County to close their doors before they doze.

“This is something that has been around for a while,” Opp Fire Chief Cory Spurlin said. “We had a couple speakers come and talk about it while at the Alabama Fire Chief’s Executive Development Conference, just to raise awareness about it.”

According to a post on the department’s Facebook page, having a bedroom door closed can protect belongings inside even when temperatures reach 1,000 degrees. Having one’s door closed makes a 900-degree difference in a fire.

“It is a proven fact that the temperature from a fire may be a 1,000 degrees in one room and if you have your door closed it could be as low as 100 degrees,” Spurlin said. “We just want the citizens of Opp and the Covington County area to be aware of this safety tip.”

Spurlin said that there are several tips on the campaign’s website, closeyourdoor.org.

According to the website, fire spreads faster than ever before. Forty years ago, residents had about 17 minutes to escape a fire. Because of synthetic materials, furniture and construction, residents now have about three minutes to escape a house fire. A closed door can slow the spread of flames and reduce toxic smoke levels.

He said that having a smoke detector along with closing a bedroom door can make residents be more safe.

“Along with closing your door and placing smoke detectors in your home, it is definitely proven to save lives,” Spurlin said. “Different agencies have started pushing this out to the public because it is another safety factor in our life that everyone can do.”

Carbon monoxide is also a big thing to be cautious about, Spurlin said.

According to the closeyourdoor.org website, when a door is closed, researchers learned 1/100th of carbon monoxide enters a room. Keeping a door closed helps maintain breathable oxygen levels as well.

“Especially during the winter we see a problem with carbon monoxide in houses,” Spurlin said. “Unfortunately we see people bringing in liquid petroleum tanks in their homes to heat them, which puts off carbon monoxide. It is a colorless, odorless and very deadly gas and you’ll just go to sleep and never wake up.”

The UL’s Firefighter Safety Research Institute reports about half of home fire deaths result from fires reported between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m., when most people are asleep. A closed door has made the difference between life and death, according to their research.

The U.S. Fire Administration collects data on residential fire fatalities based on news media reports. According to their reports, the state of Alabama has had eight civilian fire fatalities reported from January 1, to Feb. 15.