Last week we posted about Window Safety Week and introduced Window Safety Week, which is April 6th – April 12th this year. It is designed to increase awareness of the importance of windows in home safety plans, including their use as emergency escape routes. Last week we addressed the issue of falls as children falling out of windows is a major safety concern covered during Window Safety Week.
This week, we would like to talk more about Fire Safety. Windows can be a danger for falls, but windows can also be the most important life saving tool for families in the case of a fire. In fact, according to building codes, every bedroom must have a secondary means of escape in case smoke or fire is blocking the primary exit. Sufficient sized windows would cover this requirement, but meeting the requirement alone isn’t enough. It is important that when a fire happens, every family member knows what to do.
The most important thing is to be prepared. Make sure your family has an evacuation plan and that you practice it regularly. Part of this plan should include ensuring that windows can be opened easily by all members of the family in case of a fire and having all family members practice opening the windows. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) “Sparky the Fire Dog” program offers free information about home fire escape planning and identifying home hazards. They offer activities for children to learn this same information.
Being prepared is so important. Make sure your family has a solid plan and that every family member knows that plan clearly. There can be no doubt. Practice the plan regularly including checking the windows regularly. Many times when an escape attempt has failed it is because they could not open the window. Be sure you are testing your windows regularly as well. They should open easily and not be blocked by furniture.
Of course, as part of Windows Safety Week it’s important to remember balance – just as windows can save lives, they can be a danger as well. Be sure to read last week’s post for preventing window related injuries.