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Get to Know Lifedoor: An Interview with Joel Sellinger

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

This month we are proud to be launching a brand new fire safety product from another firefighter-founded company that’s adding a whole new level of safety to buildings and occupants. With technology based on safety recommendations from UL and other top authorities, LifeDoor is posed to make a huge difference to property owners and residents looking to better protect themselves in the event of a fire. We recently interviewed Joel Sellinger, one of the creators of LifeDoor, to learn more about the inspiration behind this product.

What is LifeDoor?

LifeDoor is a simple but powerful device.  It’s about 4”x 4” and mounts to a home’s interior (typically bedroom) doors. When triggered by the sound of an activated smoke alarm LifeDoor performs 3 critical, life-saving steps:

1) closes the door, but doesn’t lock it

2) Illuminates the room with a built-in LED array

3) Sounds a secondary alarm to help the occupants wake up (if needed) and recognize there’s a problem. If the safest way out of the room is through that door, the door is easily reopened.

Why did you create LifeDoor?

LifeDoor is a product that was born out of necessity. I’ve seen first hand the dramatic difference a closed door makes in the event of a fire. I also know that many people have important reasons why they prefer to sleep with their door open, even after they learn about the level of safety that it can provide when closed. Children are often afraid of sleeping with the door closed, the elderly typically don’t let go of their walkers or cains to close the door. Sadly these are the two most vulnerable demographics in home fires. When I responded to a fatality fire that I knew could have been survivable if the occupant had her door shut I realized that closing interior doors in the event of a fire was so important that it needed to be an automated process.

What type of difference does a closed-door make?

It can literally be the difference between life and death. I’ve seen both scenarios. In January of 2018 I responded to a fire where twin 3-year-old girls survived behind a closed interior door for no less than 16 mins. When those girls were rescued they had minor smoke inhalation injuries and spent less than a day in the hospital. In that apartment other rooms with open doors got so hot that plastic toys melted to the carpet.

What sort of feedback have you gotten from customers?

People love the peace of mind LifeDoor provides. Now that people are learning about the benefits of a closed door, many feel concerned when leaving doors open in their homes. With LifeDoor, they have peace of mind that if a fire broke out they’d have an extra degree of protection

What types of homes are best suited for LifeDoor?

LifeDoor is a great fit in single family homes, especially with young children or older ones. We’ve also had customers buy LifeDoor for their parents who are aging in place. Multifamily buildings are also a great fit. Shutting doors not only protects occupants but it slows fire growth, reduces smoke and heat damage, and makes it easier for firefighters to extinguish the fire.

What science is your technology based on?

Underwriters Laboratories, the leading fire safety educator on the subject, have spent over 10 years on their research to show how closed doors help in a fire. In  2018 they launched their “Close Before You Doze” campaign which encouraged everyone to close their doors when going to bed every night.

Beyond life safety what other benefits does LifeDoor provide?

Even if no one is home, a closed-door has many benefits such as slowing the spread of smoke and fire. I’ve been to many fires where a small fire resulted in massive smoke damage resulting in minimal salvagable items in the home.

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