The first full week in April is Window Safety Week, which the industry uses to raise awareness about the dangers of falls from windows in multifamily as well as single-family residences.
The Window Safety Task Force of the National Safety Council was founded in 1997 to educate the public about the importance of practicing window safety year-round. Members of the task force include the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and the Screen Manufacturers Association. They work with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and other organizations, as well as makers of doors, windows and screens.
Several companies in the fenestration industry are promoting safety programs this week. YKK AP, for example, will be sharing industry resources and tips on its Twitter feed and LinkedIn to help homeowners practice window safety.
“We focus on safety first in everything we do at YKK AP. One of our core values is ‘Be vigilant about safety.’ It is something we practice on a daily basis,” says Steve Schohan, marketing and communications manager. “We want to ensure that our windows are made with the highest quality materials and in the safest conditions, so that homeowners and building owners can rest easy knowing that YKK AP’s residential windows will keep their occupants safe. Our proprietary locking mechanisms ensure that locks are easy to use, that they lock and unlock easily, but that they automatically reset to keep occupants as safe as possible.”
Jeld-Wen is highlighting the availability of Window Opening Control Devices (WOCD) on its products. The WOCD gives homeowners the ability to automatically control the window opening to help prevent accidental falls and to meet egress codes that require windows to meet safety standards for providing emergency exits in certain rooms, such as bedrooms. the company’s WOCD is a factory-installed option that meets the ASTM F 2090 standard as referenced in the 2006 and 2009 International Building Code (IBC), and International Residential Code (IRC).
Falls from a window can result in serious injury or death and pose an especially dangerous threat for children. Every year, about eight children under age five die each year from falling out a window, and more than 3,300 are injured seriously enough to go to the hospital.
“It only takes seconds for a preventable window fall to occur,” said Becky Turpin, director of home and community safety for the National Safety Council. “To avoid these needless tragedies, it is very important for parents and caregivers to take steps to prevent home falls.”
The Window Safety Task Force urges glass companies to offer the following safety tips to consumers:
- When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
- When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach. For example, the upper sash of a double hung window.
- Avoid placing furniture near windows to prevent young children from climbing.
- Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
- Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in the home.
- Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies or patio doors. Keep play in the center of a room, if possible.
- Install code-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open or window guards (with quick-release mechanisms in case of fire) to help prevent a fall.
- Teach your child how to safely use a window to escape during an emergency, such as a fire.