EAST ORANGE, NJ — Forty years ago, people had an average of 17 minutes to escape a burning home after the smoke alarm went off, but today, that window has shrunk to an alarming average of three minutes or less, as modern-day synthetic materials are faster to catch on fire.
In light of this jarring fact, the East Orange Fire Division is participating in the national fire safety campaign “Close Before You Doze,” to encourage every family in the city to make sure they close all of their doors at night, to contain a potential house fire and keep family members safe.
According to the press release, research has shown that closed doors dramatically decrease heat and carbon monoxide levels and allow trapped occupants a greater chance of survival while waiting for help to arrive. The goal of this ongoing public education initiative is to heighten awareness about the practice of closing doors in the home, particularly before bedtime, and the potentially life-saving impact on those trapped inside a burning structure.
East Orange Fire Chief Andre M. Williams said the decision to have a closed door can be the difference between life and death.
“During a fire, a closed door can mean the difference between 100 degrees and 1,000 degrees,” Williams said in a quote in the press release. “The closed door starves the fire of the oxygen it requires to grow and gives you more time to escape. It’s such a simple thing to do and the result can be life versus death.”
East Orange Mayor Ted Green supports the national fire safety campaign and encourages families to take heed of these warnings and to start educating young children about fire safety and the precautions that can save lives.
Green also said he hopes to make closing doors habitual.
“Through this campaign,” Green began in a quote in the press release, “we hope to make closing all doors — including bathroom and basement, too — second nature in every household in our city.”
According to the press release, to schedule a “Close Before You Doze” presentation at your next community meeting, day care center, school or civic/block association, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-266-5509, ext. 5526. For more information, visit closebeforeyoudoze.org.