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NEWS | May 3, 2011

Window safety tips

By Joint Base Charleston Safety Office Joint Base Charleston

When was the last time that you thought about your home windows? Most of us think about our windows if we feel a cold draft in the winter and when we try to capture a cool breeze during that period between turning off the heating unit and turning on the air conditioner. We may also pay attention to our windows if we notice they are seriously overdue for spring cleaning, a pane is cracked or broken or when we decide to have them replaced during a home improvement project. Let's face it- most of us don't really spend very much time thinking about windows.

While we may not need to spend huge amounts of time thinking about windows, we shouldn't take our windows for granted.
Consider the following safety tips from the National Safety Council:

· Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family's emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember, children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.

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

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

· Set and enforce rules about keeping children from playing near windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.

· Keep furniture - or anything children can climb - away from windows. Children may use these objects as a climbing aid.

· 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 you install must have a release mechanism so they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency. Consult your local fire department or building code official to determine proper window guard placement.

· 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.

· 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.

· 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.