Ensuring your building's doors are fire safe and working properly

Whether you live in a building or in a single family home, you need to practice your fire evacuation plan.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In response to Sunday's deadly fire in New York City a federal task force is now being convened to examine fire safety standards for residential buildings.
Philadelphia has its own laws aimed at preventing fire tragedies.

On Monday, Action News walked viewers through space heater safety, since a space heater is what ignited that in the Bronx.

Now, we are looking at doors. You need to make sure the ones in your building are fire safe and working properly.

The 17 people who died in Sunday's high rise fire lost their lives due to smoke inhalation. Investigators blame two open doors, saying they allowed thick smoke to spread and fill the residential tower.

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"The door to that apartment unfortunately when the residents left was left open. It did not close by itself. The smoke spread throughout the building," said New York City Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro.

According to a New York City law passed in 2018, those doors should have been self-closing.

Philadelphia has a similar law it mandates that in buildings that are seven stories or higher the unit doors and stairwell doors must be self-closing.

The definition of a self-closing door is what you think it would be, it is a door that doesn't stay open on its own. It closes on its own unless it is held open or propped open.

RELATED: Safety doors failed in New York City high-rise fire that killed 17

All doors must be fire rated, that means it can withstand heat and fire for a certain period of time in order to give people a chance to escape.

If your high-rise building does not have self-closing doors or self-closing doors that are working as they should, call 311 to get an inspection.

All buildings should have working smoke detectors on every level and in every bedroom. Buildings built from the '90s on are required to have smoke detectors outside bedrooms, too.

And whether you live in a building or in a single family home, you need to practice your evacuation plan.

Another important tip that the Philadelphia Fire Commissioner said repeatedly during his news conference on Tuesday is 'close before you doze' meaning close your bedroom doors before you go to sleep.

And one more thing to look for are Philadelphia row homes and multi-family units built after 2010 are required to have sprinkler systems.
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