Will A Door Stop A Fire? A firefighter answers.


You may have heard that you’re supposed to close your bedroom doors at night, but do you know why? Sure, it’s the general consensus that shutting the door is “safer” in the event of a fire, but can a fire go through a door? Will a door really stop a fire?

Fire can go through doors, and they do not stop fires outright. It’s best to shut your door while sleeping because doors can slow the spread of smoke and flames. A closed door will also decrease temperatures and improve oxygen levels in your room, leading to higher rates of survival.

If you’re curious as to why shutting your bedroom door while sleeping is beneficial, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you will find information such as whether or not fire can go through doors and how they can be advantageous if a fire breaks out.

Can fire go through doors?

Fire can go through doors. But, the rate of speed at which the fire will destroy a door and enter a room depends on the type of door. For instance, a hollow core door won’t last as long as a solid core or actual “fire door,” which can last several hours without breaking down.

Will a door stop a fire?

A door cannot stop a fire outright. However, a closed door is far more advantageous in the event of a fire than an opened one.

If you’ve ever wondered why are the top causes of house fires, you should check out another article I wrote breaking down the top 9 causes of house fires (and tips to prevent them).

Should You Close All Doors During a Fire?

Doors should always be closed in the event of a fire. There are six main reasons to close doors during a fire: 

1. Slows the Spread of Flames

The main reason you should close your door while you sleep (and during a fire in general) is that it slows the spread of flames, allotting you more time to escape. Fire feeds on oxygen. A closed door halts the oxygen flow to the fire, ensuring it doesn’t get out of control too swiftly.

2. Decreases Overall Temperatures

A closed door will block some of the horrendous and deadly high temperatures a fire emits. In fact, it’s claimed that a room with the door shut will remain below 100F, while a room with the door open can easily reach 1,000F or more.

3. Reduces Smoke Inhalation

While a wide open room will allow smoke to gust inside, a door will help block some smoke from entering. This is life-changing, considering smoke inhalation is one of the most common reasons for death in a house fire, which can occur in under ten minutes.

4. Improved Oxygen Levels

Since a closed door blocks the bulk of smoke from entering the room, oxygen levels are much higher than they would be if the room’s door were open. With improved oxygen levels, there is less chance of passing out or dying, especially before one can get away. 

5. More Time to Escape

The most significant advantage of closing doors during a fire is that it allows the occupants more time to escape with a significantly reduced risk of injury or death. It also gives the fire department additional time to successfully perform rescue missions when needed.

6. Easier to Fight the Flames

The final perk of closing doors is that it makes the fire easier to manage – for residents and fire departments. (Note: It’s always best to leave fire-fighting to the professionals!) As the fire is not being fed oxygen and is halted momentarily by the door, there is far more time to put out the blaze before it grows.

Consider Fire-Rated Doors for Added Protection

While any type of closed door is advantageous during a fire, if you want to increase fire protection, consider purchasing a “fire-rated” or “fire-resistant” door.

These specialty doors undergo endurance testing at temperatures up to 1,925F. From there, the door is given a rating – or a time limit – for how long it’ll last during a blaze. For instance, the door may be able to handle high temperatures for 60 minutes up to a maximum of 180 minutes.

Always Close Your Bedroom Doors

While doors won’t necessarily stop a fire in its tracks, they will work to slow the spread and cut down on smoke inhalation, which results in a higher chance of a successful escape from the home or building. Always close your bedroom doors while you sleep, and purchase a fire-rated door for added protection.

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