Holbrook Windows: Important Safety Tips to Protect Your Child.

April 1 – 7, 2012 has been deemed National Window Safety Week. Windows are great they provide ventilation, emergency escapes and natural light but windows can also pose a risk of a fall  in the home if safety measures are not followed.

Massachusetts Building Codes are designed to require that at least one window in each room is large enough to act as an escape route if necessary. In addition window manufactures now design replacement windows to open easily, and so that screens an be removed without any special tools or knowledge if you need to utilize it as an escape route.

According to the National Safety Council’s 2011 Media Kit National Safety Week is important because, “Windows are one of the few things we enjoy both inside and outside our homes and business. Windows serve an important role in our lives by letting in natural light and soothing fresh air as we open them and by keeping out the elements when they’re closed. Some windows ─ larger units called egress or emergency escape and rescue windows ─ can take on an even greater role if we need to escape quickly in the event of a fire or other emergency, or if rescue workers need to enter through them in emergency situations.”

The National Safety Council also recommends reviewing the following tips about window safety:

1. Doors serve as the primary exits. Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a  burning home or for other emergencies. Determine your family’s emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.

2. When performing spring repairs, take care to make sure that your windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.

3. Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach, or in the case of a double-hung window, open the top sash only.

4. Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through an insect screen, open window or glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.

5. Keep furniture – or anything children can climb – away from windows. Children may
use such objects as a climbing aid.

6. If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the window guards or devices you install must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in case of a fire or other emergency. Consult your local fire department or building code official to determine proper placement for window guards and window fall prevention devices.

7. Some homes may have window guards, security bars, grilles or grates already covering  their windows. Those windows are useless in an emergency if the devices on them do not have a functioning release mechanism. Time is critical when escaping a fire. Take time to update these devices to make sure they comply with industry standards and have appropriate release mechanisms.

8. Do not install window air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or
rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
9. The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on
which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall does occur.

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About the Window Safety Task Force
The Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council was formed in 1997 to promote greater awareness of window safety. This group is composed of members representing the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Screen Manufacturers Association (SMA), in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and other organizations, as well as leading manufacturers of windows, doors and screens. More information can be
found at nsc.org/windowsafetytaskforce.

*Photo Courtesy of Harvey Building Products: Tribute Premium Double Hung Window