April 3-9, 2016 is National Window Safety Week, sponsored by the Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council, so we thought it would be a good idea to let you know about some of the things you can do in your San Diego home to keep your family safe when it comes to your windows.
There are two main concerns when talking about window safety: the ability to use your windows as an escape in the case of an emergency, and preventing accidental falls out of second-story windows.
Making Sure Your Windows Can Serve as an Escape Route
As you probably know, building codes require that every bedroom in your house has an egress window—a window large enough to serve as an escape route in case of a fire or another emergency. The California Building Code requires that windows have a clear opening of no less than 5.7 square feet, with an openable height of at least 24 inches. In addition, the opening of an egress window cannot be more than 44 inches above the floor, and it must be operable without the use of separate tools. If you have older windows in your home that do not meet these requirements, it might be time to consider replacement windows for the safety of you and your family.
Even if your windows do meet the minimum window size requirements, there are other factors that could make your windows unusable in the case of emergency. Here are some things you should check for and fix if necessary:
- Windows that are painted shut
- Air conditioning units in windows that block the escape route
- Window guards or security bars that don’t have a release mechanism
Preventing Accidental Window Falls
According to the Safe Kids Worldwide 2015 Report to the Nation, more than 3,300 children are seriously injured and about eight children die each year as a result of falling out of a window. If you have children in your home, it is necessary that you take measures to ensure their safety around your windows. Here are a few things to consider:
- Screens are not enough to prevent a child from falling out of a window, as they are not built to support that much weight
- Children should not be left unattended in a room with an open window
- For double-hung windows in an upstairs room, only the top sash should be opened for ventilation
- Limited-opening hardware is available, which allows a window to only be opened a few inches
At BM Windows, we are committed to your family’s safety. We are knowledgeable about the code requirements for replacement windows, and we can give you advice about safety features in replacement windows that may be useful for your San Diego home. Contact us today to schedule your fee, in-home consultation.