Trending Topics

UL FSRI releases video of child rescue to underscore ‘Close Before You Doze’ message

Helmet cam footage and 911 dispatch recordings show the moment Fairfax County (Va.) firefighters hear girl calling for help behind closed door


Kyle Ballinger, Fairfax technician, Truck 411/B, was one of the firefighters who rescued a girl who closed her door to protect her from fire.


By FireRescue1 Staff

As part of its ongoing campaign to promote the “Close Before You Doze” public safety message, the UL Firefighter Safety Research Institute (FSRI) has released a video featuring 911 dispatch and helmet camera footage of the rescue of a young girl in a house fire, performed by firefighters from the Fairfax County (Virginia) Fire and Rescue Department.

The video, which was created to underscore the effectiveness of a closed door to protect against fire, features Fairfax firefighters giving the play by play of call – a working kitchen fire. Firefighters had been told that everyone was out of the house.

With flames rolling over their heads, two firefighters were searching the house when they heard a voice calling for help and banging on a closed door – all audible on the recordings.

“There was no smoke in the room [where the child was found]; it was completely clear,” said Kyle Ballinger, Fairfax technician, Truck 411/B. “She just kinda jumped up into my arms.”

The firefighters quickly removed the girl from the home.

“She didn’t have any marks on her, any soot on her,” said Battalion Chief David Hall. “She closed that door; it’s more than proof to me that it works. Even at 1 o’clock in the morning, she’s sound asleep. Taking that one action [closing the door], it saved her life.”

Chris Ouellette, captain, Engine 411/B, added: “One thing I took away from this call is how important it is to take this message and share it with the community and my friends and family, not only Close Before You Doze, but to have working smoke alarms inside and outside of every sleeping area on every floor of the home, to practice your exit plan to try to get out of the house, but if you can’t get out of the house, close your door and give us that time for the fire department to get there to help.”

Close Before You Doze is part of the public fire safety campaign. UL FSRI indicates that this safety initiative comes as the result of over 10 years of research proving that a closed door could potentially save lives in a fire. As part of the campaign, the First Responders Toolkit, a suite of ready-to-use tools and resources, has been developed and made available to enable firefighters, fire marshals/investigators, police officers and dispatchers to spread the word that helps stop the spread of fire.