• Publications

July 28, 2023

Close Before You Doze Featured in New College Textbook

Discovering Answers textbookA lifesaving Fire Safety Research Institute (FSRI) public safety program is featured in an internationally recognized University of Oregon professor’s new textbook, “Discovering Answers: Research Methods for Public Relations.”

The FSRI program, Close Before You Doze, applies lessons learned from more than a decade of fire dynamics research to urge people to close their doors before going to sleep. Closed doors block smoke, flames, and toxic levels of carbon monoxide during a fire while preventing the temperature from reaching the 1,000+ degrees Fahrenheit measured in open-door rooms. Since 2020, FSRI has documented more than 70 lives that were saved from fire by a closed door.

Dr. Donnalyn Pompper, a University of Oregon public relations professor, spotlighted the social research used to develop the award-winning FSRI campaign in her book. In a sidebar titled “Using numbers to connect with consumers and help save lives,” Pompper focused on the research components that formed the campaign’s foundation.

“At least three distinct research components of the campaign led to unqualified success in impacting consumer behavior change and garnering significant media attention and social media engagement,” Pompper noted in the sidebar.

Led by FSRI Senior Director of Research Amplification Zoe Susice and the Allison+Partners public relations agency, the Close Before You Doze public education campaign takes a multipronged approach. Among its most effective elements is a video showing the effect of a live fire on both a room with its door closed and an adjacent room with its door open, which received over 1 million views in its first 24 hours and more than 12 million views to date. The reaction of a surprised focus group to the dramatic difference between the fire damage to the two rooms — the closed-door room is seemingly untouched while the open-door room is charred and soot-covered — is a focus of the video.


Remote video URL


“Our research kept coming back to the lifesaving role closed doors play during a fire,” Susice said. “I knew we had to get that message across to the public — and that combining our research-backed statistics with a powerful visual to show as well as tell people about the importance of closed doors would connect on an emotional level to drive action.”

The Close Before You Doze public education campaign also garnered national media attention, including an eight-minute live segment on “Good Morning America” that was among more than 2,500 stories in consumer outlets, an Allison+Partners campaign page says. A follow-up national consumer survey found that 91% of those exposed to the Close Before You Doze campaign said they would sleep with their door closed going forward because they believe it’s safer in case of fire.

Since its launch in 2017, Close Before You Doze has received several public relations, purpose-driven marketing, and impact awards. Most recently, FSRI was notified that Close Before You Doze has progressed to the semifinals for the National Safety Council’s Green Cross for Safety Awards.