NFPA updates its educational messaging around sleeping with a door closed

Blog Post created by lisabraxton Employee on May 13, 2016

Should you sleep with your bedroom door opened or closed? It’s a straightforward question, but the answer isn’t quite so clear-cut. Many variables, including
where people sleep in their homes and the location of their smoke alarms, make it challenging to craft a one-size-fits-all answer.

In an effort to reflect the latest information, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Educational Messages Advisory Committee (EMAC)
recently modified its messaging around sleeping with a door closed. Comprised of national, state, and local fire and life safety experts, EMAC meets periodically to review NFPA’s fire safety education messages and provide recommendations for revising them in accordance with NFPA’s codes, standards and related criteria, where applicable.

The updated message for sleeping with the door closed states, “A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. For the best protection, make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected.” Previous messaging stated that if you sleep with the bedroom door closed, to
install smoke alarms inside and outside the bedroom, and for the best protection, to make sure all smoke alarms are interconnected.

“NFPA and others have long acknowledged that closing a door can impact the spread of fire, but the primary message has been and continues to be to make sure you
have working smoke alarms in your home, giving you early warning of a fire,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s Vice President of Outreach and Advocacy.

According to Carli, new research shows that fires burn faster today as a result of the way newer homes are built and the contents in homes. This led the committee to
re-examine messaging around sleeping with doors closed.

The committee recommended additional research to look at other factors, such as whether or not a closed door could delay the early warning from a smoke alarm
outside the sleeping room, and how a closed door will impact the rate of fatalities when the fire begins in the room where the door is closed.