Close Before You Doze: The Winning Science Fair Project

This past Spring, the Close Before You Doze message was the theme of the winning 6th Grade Science Fair project put together by 12-year-old Peyton Pierson in Osceola, Indiana. Fire safety is not a new subject for Peyton as her Dad, Tim Pierson, is a firefighter/paramedic for the Penn Township Fire Department. He had previously shared this message with Peyton, and together they reviewed the information available on UL FSRI’s closeyourdoor.org. The difference in temperatures and timing over the years is what intrigued her the most. Peyton found it fascinating that occupants previously had seventeen minutes to escape a house fire, but in today’s world, they may only have as many as three minutes to escape. After finding out how important closing bedroom doors before going to bed can be, Peyton wanted to share this safety message with her friends and teachers.

Over the course of three months, Peyton worked with her dad to conduct experiments for her “Close Before You Doze” science fair project. Together with Battalion Chief/Chief Training Officer Brian Kazmierzak, they conducted several burns using the Max Fire Box , a small ceramic coated steel box lined with OSB, open in the front with the ability to be closed with a metal door. This prop demonstrated the change in the fire environment that closing a door could provide. With a thermal imaging camera, Peyton could visually see temperature differences between the door being open and the door being closed. Each burn showed how the introduction of oxygen or lack thereof can impact a fire’s growth.

Through this experience and information gleaned from closeyourdoor.org, Peyton’s project won over the judges and was named first place out of approximately 125 other participants. A ballerina in training, Peyton loves to dance and hang out with her friends. She shared that she also likes to watch YouTube rather than T.V. and suggested sharing #CloseBeforeYouDoze on that social platform to reach more kids her age.