Windows and Doors
Enhance Home Safety
*Unedited by BPO staff
(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
Here are signs that a window is not functioning properly and
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is a sure sign; outdated design or style that doesn't blend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 fashion.
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
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, as well.
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 a fire. 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.
Courtesy of ARA Content
EDITOR'S NOTE: For more information,
contact Kathy Krafka Harkema at Pella Corporation at (641)
or Leigh R. McGivern, The Integer Group at (515) 247-2628,