(ARA) - Safety starts in the home and it begins with fundamentals such as windows
and doors. While functional, these products may be safety hazards if not maintained
properly and replaced when they are worn out. Take some time to ensure your windows
and doors are in proper working order for your best defense against natural disasters,
fire or accidents in your home. Here's where to start:
First, make sure all of your windows work as they should. Never block, nail or paint
windows closed, which could prevent a quick exit in the event of a fire, natural disaster
or an accident. All windows and doors in the home should open and close easily and there
should be no air leakage around a window.
Here are signs that a window is not functioning
properly and needs replacing:
Poor performance - opening and closing is a difficult task; air leaks in, out or around
the window; condensation or fogging occurs on or between glass panes; windows are painted
or nailed shut and virtually impossible to open.
Looks - chipping, deterioration, water stains or wood rot of the window or the area
around the window (inside or out) is a sure sign; outdated design or style that doesn't
blend well with the rest of the home.
Effort - cleaning is a major hassle and another chore to be avoided; replacement parts
are hard to find or even non-existent.
Once your windows are working properly, consider these safety tips for windows:
Keep unsupervised infants and babies away from windows, especially cribs where toddlers
can easily reach and climb to precarious spots.
Keep windows closed and locked when children are around. If your home features double-hung
windows, close the bottom sash nearest to children, and open the top sash to allow for
ventilation. This will help prevent a toddler from toppling out a window.
Heed the warning of window and door manufacturers: screens are not meant to stop a child
from falling; keep children away from open windows.
Keep furniture, or anything a child can climb, away from windows - they may use these
objects as a climbing aid.
Homes with window guards, security bars, grilles or grates covering windows become potential
hazards in an emergency if the devices on them do not have a functioning quick release
mechanism to allow a swift, safe exit through the window. Time is critical when escaping
for emergency purposes.
Cords on shades and blinds can be hazardous to small children or pets who can easily
get tangled and wrap the cord around their neck or choke on the cord itself. Pella Corporation
provides a safer solution with its between-the-glass window fashions that allow cordless
operation or even remote-control operation to control the shades or blinds. This product
reduces the risk of injury and offers homeowners a clutter-free and dust-free window
Finally, the degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface
on which the victim falls. Planting shrubs and providing soft edging like wood chips
or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall occurs.
As with windows, be sure all doors open and close easily. No door should be painted,
nailed or blocked shut. And as with windows, screens on doors will not stop a child
from falling. Keep small children away from open doors. For maximum safety during severe
weather, keep away from windows and doors, to avoid potentially being struck by flying
debris or broken glass.
A basement or hallway is the best place to seek safe cover in a home during severe winds
and tornadoes. All entry doors (including those going into a garage) should be solid
core for safety protection. Some practical advice: solid wood construction on doors
offers superior insulating qualities - wood provides 1,100 times the insulating value
Patio doors can be a hazard to children. Make sure all sliding glass doors have decals
on them, or feature between-the-glass window fashions for added visibility, so a child
won't run into them. All sliding doors should have a sliding door stop for child protection,
Pella Windows & Doors is proud to partner with the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA) and the Home Safety Council to sponsor national Fire Prevention Week (FPW), October
5 to 11, 2003, to bring fire safety education to students in most elementary school
classrooms in the U.S. and Canada.
Consider these chilling statistics:
- A home fire strikes in the U.S. every 1.4 minutes; every 24 minutes in Canada
- Someone dies every 2.8 hours as a result of a home fire in the U.S.; every 31
hours in Canada
- 383,500 residential fires occurred in 2001
- 3,110 fire deaths occurred in homes (2001)
- $5.5 billion in residential property losses occurred in 2001 due to fire
- Only 25 percent of U.S. families have planned and practiced an escape route at
home Doors and windows are the primary escape routes from a home in the event of
Unfortunately, many homeowners' doors or windows are painted or nailed shut, are
blocked by heavy objects, or do not operate quickly, to permit a swift, safe exit in
the event of a fire. Therefore, homeowners need to understand the importance of planning
and practicing a home fire safety escape route, as well as how to ensure that their
windows and doors are safe and operating properly.
Make sure emergency egress windows and doors (required by building codes) can be opened
quickly - they can literally save lives, permitting a fast, safe escape in the event
of a fire.
Do not install window air conditioning units in windows that may be needed for escape
or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could prohibit escape through the
window. There should be at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets
escape and rescue requirements.
Windows and doors should be your first and instant access to freedom from injury if
an emergency occurs in your home. Keep them in working order and accessible to enhance
your safety. When closed and locked, windows and doors can also be the buffer between
your home and the threats of Mother Nature.
Be sure to keep them secure and updated to help protect your home and your family. To
find the Pella Window & Door Store nearest you call (888) 84-PELLA or visit www.pella.com.
Note: This article was submitted by a second party and the contents are subject to