Multiple national safety awareness campaigns in October are leading homeowners nationwide to focus attention on their windows and doors.
Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13), Crime Prevention Month and National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 21-27) are all being observed during the month of October.
There’s a common denominator of window and door safety in each of these public awareness campaigns.
Homeowners should familiarize themselves with the operating and safety features of their windows and patio doors to help make their homes safer.
From practicing fire drills with children to using locking hardware on windows, consumers need to actively participate in safety and security practices in the home.”
Home Security Window Tips
Tip 1. Homeowners should always lock their windows and patio doors when not in use.
This does two things: it helps deter potential intruders, and it creates a weathertight, energy-efficient seal from the elements.
Tip 2. Check your window frames.
If you find warping or rotting wood it can be easier for intruders to break into a home through your windows.
Consider replacing them with vinyl framed windows. Vinyl is a great insulator, plus it’s durable and easy to maintain.
Tip 3. If you live in a neighborhood that is prone to crime, install impact-resistant windows with laminated glass… at least for the first floor of your home.
In these units, two panes of glass are adhered to a durable plastic interlayer, much like a car windshield.
If an intruder hits the window with a crowbar or other object, the glass will shatter, but broken pieces remain adhered to the interlayer, preventing glass fallout inside the home.
The plastic interlayer is also puncture-resistant, and will frustrate potential intruders.
Home Safety Window Tips
Tip 4. Practice fire safety drills regularly.
Small children tend to “hide” from fire, so make sure children are familiar with planned escape routes and know how to move quickly out of the home.
For homes with bedrooms on second floors or higher, make sure safety escape chain ladders are under the bed in every room.
Practice operating the window with older children and show them how to use escape ladders.
Tip 5. If a door is not safe to exit through during a fire, exit through an open window, using an escape ladder if necessary.
Avoid breaking the glass in a window whenever possible, because it could cause serious injury.
Tip 6. Never put nails or screws in a window frame to hold up holiday lights or decorations.
Also, do not glue, staple or tape lights to a window frame.
All of these activities can be potential fire hazards and can impede the successful operation of the window.
Tip 7. Don’t place lit candles on a window sill, nor the sash.
Tip 8. Never decorate windows with anything that could impede them from opening quickly, in case you need to use the window as an escape route during an emergency.
For example, don’t wrap garland or artificial pine branches around the window hardware.
Tip 9. Although tempting, do not spray “fake snow” from aerosol cans on your windows.
The “snow” residue can be hard to remove after the holidays and can hamper the operation of your window if it gums up the sash or hardware.
Tip 10. Don’t ever paint shut windows.
Every window in the home must be operational in case of an emergency.
Tip 11. Homeowners should plant shrubs, grass and place “soft landscaping” items like bark and mulch directly underneath windows to help lessen the impact should someone fall out the window.
Healthy Home Window Tips
Tip 12. Determine what year your house was built.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the routine opening and closing of windows painted with lead-based paint (primarily in homes built prior to 1978) can cause microscopic paint dust to be released into the air.
Tip 13. Contact a window installation professional trained and certified in lead-safe work practices to determine if there is lead-based paint on or near your windows before performing any renovation, repair or replacement projects that involve windows or doors.
Tip 14. Evaluate your specifi c family needs.
Research indicates that the everyday activity of opening and closing leadbase painted windows creates friction that then allows microscopic lead dust to enter the air.
This is of special concern in households built prior to 1978, with young children who crawl on the floor.
Toddlers put their hands in their mouths… and after playing on the floor near a window, they can easily transfer the lead dust into their mouths.
The ingested lead can travel through the bloodstream to a child’s developing brain, potentially causing neurobehavioral damage.
Tip 15. Replace older windows, especially single-pane windows, using the EPA-approved lead safe renovation guidelines.
Have your certified leadsafe contractor stabilize any significantly deteriorated paint and thoroughly remove lead-contaminated dust.
Finally, perform dust wipe tests to confirm the absence of lead dust hazards after the cleanup.