Window Safety Week

Topics: Loss Control

Summary: Window Safety Week takes place the first full week of April, coinciding with the warmer spring weather when people across the country start enjoying the fresh air flowing inside their homes. Find out what window safety tips homeowners and building owners can implement to prevent falls and safely escape in an emergency.

Thinking Spring? Think Window Safety Week

Spring is here, and as the temperatures start to warm throughout most of the country, it’s time to throw open the windows and let some of that fresh air inside. It’s no coincidence that Window Safety Week takes place the first full week of April, right as people start to appreciate the spring winds flowing throughout their homes.

The National Safety Council (NSC) and the Window Safety Task Force established Window Safety Week back in 1997. The goal was to raise awareness and make window safety a year-round priority. Homeowners, renters and residential building owners should all understand the life-saving role windows play in escaping an emergency like a fire. It’s also important to know what steps to take to help prevent window falls.

Window Safety Tips

More than 3,300 people are injured from window falls every year. Children are especially at risk, with around eight children under age five dying from falling out a window yearly. However, windows should be included in all home emergency escape plans, so it’s vital to ensure they can be easily reached and opened should a crisis occur.

Window Fall Prevention for Children

If children reside in the home, keep these window safety tips in mind:
  • Windows should remain locked and closed when kids are around. If windows need to be opened to let in fresh air, open windows that are out of children's reach.
  • If possible, open windows from the top instead of the bottom to further ensure children’s safety.
  • Install window stops or guards so windows can only be opened a certain amount as a fall prevention measure.
  • Remove any furniture or objects underneath windows that children can stand on to reach them.
  • Remember that screens are not designed to prevent window falls; the purpose of window screens is simply to keep insects out.
  • Set rules about keeping playtime away from open windows or patio doors, and always supervise children when playing near them.
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Window Safety Checklist for Residential Building Owners

Create an emergency fire escape plan

While doors are the main means of egress whenever possible, windows are the best alternative option. Remember that certain residents may have to exit through windows in an emergency, so make sure everyone knows how to get out as quickly and as safely as possible. The plan should be shared with all household members, including children.

Inspect windows regularly and make necessary repairs

If a window doesn’t open properly, it could lead to a dire situation during an emergency. Check to make sure windows are not nailed or painted shut to ensure they can be opened when necessary.

Make sure windows are accessible for escape or rescue

Some homes or buildings may have guards, grilles, grates or even security bars covering certain windows for fall prevention. Time is of the essence when there’s a crisis, so it’s critical that residents can exit as quickly as possible. The NSC recommends that any windows used for emergency escape that may have such fall prevention devices installed have a release mechanism compliant with ASTM F2090. Contact your local building code official or the fire department to help determine the proper placement for window guards. Additionally, if a window is needed for an escape plan, do not install a window air conditioner that could impair exit through that window. There should be at least one available window in each sleeping and living area that can provide adequate escape and rescue.

Plan out landscaping under windows to cushion possible falls

Planting soft grass, shrubbery or spreading wood chips or mulch beneath windows can help provide a cushioned landing should a fall occur. These types of surfaces can help reduce the injuries sustained from a window fall.

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This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc. nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors. Coverages may vary by location. Contact your local RSM for more information.

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