New fire safety mantra: Close Before You Doze

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A Wichita elementary school student goes through the Wichita Fire Department's Practice And Learn (PAL) Simulator to learn how to escape a fire.  Here he's crawling low to the ground to avoid dangerous smoke. A Wichita elementary school student goes through the Wichita Fire Department's Practice And Learn (PAL) Simulator to learn how to escape a fire. Here he's crawling low to the ground to avoid dangerous smoke.
Another Wichita elementary student practices crawling low to the ground while checking to be sure the "door" to the "bedroom" is closed before escaping out the "window". Another Wichita elementary student practices crawling low to the ground while checking to be sure the "door" to the "bedroom" is closed before escaping out the "window".
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Firefighters are teaching something new this year when it comes to getting out of a  burning building.  They started teaching it at fire safety events this week.  It's called Close Before You Doze.

"Now the door is open and all that smoke's in your hallway," a Wichita firefighter tells a local elementary school student.

They're at a fire safety event at the North Y Wednesday morning. It's an annual event to teach local school children about how to get away from a house fire.  
"We want the public to be aware and, especially with kids, to be prepared to be able to get out if there's an emergency," said Stuart Bevis, a fire marshal with the Wichita Fire Department.

But, this year, the training for how to get out safely has changed.

"So let's grab our door and close our door," the firefighter tells the student during the fire escape simulation.

When most of us were kids they trained you that when the alarm goes off, you roll out of bed, get down on the ground and, staying as low as possible to avoid the smoke, crawl to the door.  Then, we were supposed to check to see if the door was hot before opening it to get out. 

But that's where the change comes in.  With so many kids these days sleeping with the door open, and new science proving the fires are moving faster these days thanks to all the synthetic building materials, firefighters are teaching kids to just make sure the door is closed before escaping out the window. 

Better yet, just close the door before going to bed, thus the new mantra Close Before You Doze.

"As a fire investigator I've seen it for years where you walk into one room - it's gutted.  But the room right next to where the fire happened is fine because that door was closed," Bevis explained.

Even firefighters are using the close your door methods now.

"That's the first thing they do," Bevis said.  "When they go in a window to do a rescue, they close the bedroom door to give themselves more time."

Wednesday, firefighters were using what they call the "Practice and Learn"  low-tech simulator to teach kids how to react to a fire.  Thanks to grants, every Wichita Fire Station now has it's own simulator.  They will be open to the public during the department's open houses this Saturday from 1pm to 3pm. 

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