What to Know About Using Windows as Emergency Exits

Having a family plan for evacuating your home in the event of an emergency is a smart idea. In your plan, it is recommended to include two ways to escape from every room in case one way is blocked by fire or smoke.

Here are some tips for evaluating the windows in your home for emergency exit use:

  • Window opening control devices are intended to help protect against accidental window falls by children age 5 and younger. Teach household members 6 and older how to operate the release mechanism in case of emergency.
  • Be sure to leave at least one window in every room unblocked by window insulating film, window air conditioners or other obstructions.
  • Never paint, nail or weatherstrip windows shut.
  • The National Fire Protection Association recommends storing one escape ladder in every occupied room of your home that is above the main level. Make sure every member of your family knows how the ladder works.
  • Regularly test and verify operability of escape windows and window opening control device release mechanisms.

This might also be a good time to check the operation of your smoke alarms and replace batteries if necessary. Be safe and be prepared.