Itasca, IL – Windows play a vital role in home fire safety, but they can also pose dangers in the home if safety measures aren’t followed, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the National Safety Council. The two organizations have teamed up to launch this year’s National Window Safety Week, April 23-29.
Each year, according to NFPA and NSC, small children fall from windows and in some cases are killed. The organizations are encouraging families to take a series of simple steps to ensure the safety of everyone in the home.
Safety steps should include incorporating windows into fire escape plans. Each room in the home should have two escape routes in case smoke or a fire is blocking the primary exit. A window is often the second means of escape. But families should also make sure that windows are safely secured, especially when children are present.
The organizations suggest the following window safety tips:
*Both the “Clear Your Escape Routes” brochure and “Safe and Secure” program information can be downloaded by going to www.nfpa.org/highrisk.
- Put together a home fire escape plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Make a floor plan, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors. For easy planning, download NFPA’s escape planning grid at www.nfpa.org/escapeplan. Also, NFPA offers great escape planning information on its “Home Escape Planning” page. From the home page, www.nfpa.org, click on “Research & Reports,” then “Fact Sheets,” and then “Home Safety.”
- Make sure that your escape routes are clear of clutter that could keep you from escaping in the event of a home fire and that windows can be easily opened. NFPA’s “Clear Your Escape Routes” offers more tips.
- If windows or doors in your home have security bars, make sure that the bars have a quick-release mechanism inside so that they can be opened in an emergency. NFPA’s “Safe and Secure” program can help you address home security and fire issues in your community.
- Never nail or paint windows shut and make sure that plastic covering sometimes used on windows can be easily removed.
- For Americans living in the country’s hurricane zones, hurricane shutters or plywood boards should be removed once the threat of storms passes.
- Keep your windows closed and locked when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that children cannot reach.
- Insect screens are designed to provide ventilation and to keep insects out. They will not prevent a child from falling.
- Set and enforce rules about keeping children’s play away from windows or patio doors.
- Keep furniture or anything a child can climb onto away from windows.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.