HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Fire Department is encouraging residents to do one simple thing before going to sleep - close the door.
Hattiesburg Fire Marshal Stephen Mooney said the catchy campaign, "Close before you Doze," could save someone's life.
"A typical bedroom door can reduce the temperatures by 900 degrees. So if there is a fire outside your door that is 1,000 degrees, you can reduce it down to 100 degrees," said Mooney. "Which makes it sustainable for you to be alive and gives you time to get out of your house and be safe."
A report released in October by the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute found a closed door can provide occupants "a critical barrier against heat and smoke, giving them precious time to escape or be rescued, and helping to protect property."
"Those valuable moments when you're trying to figure out what you need to do. Understand whether you can get out or not. And if you can't, that barrier between you and the fire is critical," Fire Safety Expert Steve Kerber said.
Statistics show most house fires happen between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., with a peak in the midnight hours. Mooney said the Hattiesburg Fire Department responded to three calls just last week within that period in one day for house fires.
He said one call came in just thirty minutes after a gas company was at the person's home before the cool weather.
"As that heater warmed up and the fire started building inside there, mechanically it was not sound," said Mooney. "At that time the fire started burning inside the heater and moved out to the heater closet."
According to the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute, a door of almost any construction affords an effective barrier against the effects of a fire. The FSRI reports a hollow-core door can withstand a fire for up to five minutes, while a solid wood door can last as long as ten minutes.
Click here to view a fire test in both two bedrooms, one with an open door and the other closed, from the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute.
"We always want to make sure that we are in a safe area. Make sure your smoke detectors are working and please, close before you doze, because that gives you the time to get out of your house."
If you do wake up to a fire in your home, Mooney said it is important to feel the closed door. If the door is hot, you need to find another way to exit the building.
Mooney expressed how important it is to have a fire escape plan and practice it with family members or roommates at least twice a year to be prepared if your home goes up in flames unexpectedly.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 475,000 structure fires were reported in 2016 for over $7.9 billion in property damage.