Every day you whisper a promise to your child, "I’ll always keep you safe."
But keeping your home and children safe takes more than a promise. It can only be done with planning and preventive action.
The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department joins the National Safety Council and the National Fire Protection Association in asking you to focus today on window safety:
The danger of falls and fire may be greater than you think!
Preventing falls from windows is as important as learning how to use one in an emergency. Unattended children run the greatest risk of fall and injury, so your best 'first step' is to watch children as they play. Nothing can substitute for careful supervision.
Fire is frightening. All too often, the bodies of young children are found after a fire in places where they tried to hide. Teach your children that they can’t hide from fire: They must escape it!
Decide on at least two emergency escape routes from your home. Windows provide one of the fastest, easiest alternative ways out of a burning residence. Teach children how to safely escape through windows and take time to practice with them.
Every family member should know how to operate the windows used for fire emergencies. Delay in escaping fire can cost lives and increase injury. Often paint, dirt or weathering will seal a window shut. Make sure yours open easily from the inside and are not blocked by furniture or other objects.
Remember also that security bars, grilles and grates not only keep intruders out; they can also lock you in. The same holds true for window guards. Everyone should be able to get out through a window at all times without using tools, keys, special knowledge or significant effort.
When youngsters are around, close and latch your windows. If you need ventilation, only open windows they cannot reach. Be sure to keep furniture - or anything children can climb - away from windows. And teach your children not to play near windows.
And finally, never depend on insect screens to prevent falls. Insect screens are designed only to provide ventilation. They will not support the weight of a child or prevent their fall.
Here are 9 simple ways to protect your loved ones:
1. Windows provide a secondary means of escape from a burning home. Determine your family's emergency escape plan and practice it. Remember that children may have to rely on a window to escape in a fire. Help them learn to safely use a window under these circumstances.
2. When performing household repairs, make sure windows are not painted or nailed shut. You must be able to open them to escape in an emergency.
3. Keep your windows closed and latched when children are around. When opening windows for ventilation, open windows that a child cannot reach.
4. Set and enforce rules about keeping children's play away from windows or patio doors. Falling through the glass can be fatal or cause serious injury.
5. Keep furniture — or anything children can climb — away from windows. Children may use such objects as a climbing aid.
6. If you have young children in your home and are considering installing window guards or window fall prevention devices, be aware that the window guards you install must have a release mechanism so that they can be opened for escape in a fire emergency. Consult your local building code officials to determine proper window guard placement.
7. Some homes have window guards, security bars, grilles or grates covering windows. Those windows can be useless in an emergency if they do not have a functioning release mechanism. Test them today because time is critical when escaping a fire.
8. Do not install window unit air conditioners in windows that may be needed for escape or rescue in an emergency. The air conditioning unit could block or impede escape through the window. Always be sure that you have at least one window in each sleeping and living area that meets escape and rescue requirements.
9. The degree of injury sustained from a window fall can be affected by the surface on which the victim falls. Shrubs and soft edging like wood chips or grass beneath windows may lessen the impact if a fall does occur.
Can our Community Firefighter/Medics count on you?
Along with surveying your home, school and workplace today, please help us by sharing this informative brochure and checklist throughout your community.