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Window and Door Safety Tips for Fire Prevention Week

Fire Prevention Week is coming to a close. The 2016 theme was all about smoke detectors and checking to see if they are expired or need a battery replacement. In addition to checking your smoke alarms, there are many window and door safety considerations for your home and the people who live there.

window and door safety during fire

Know the Facts about Fire Door Safety

Before you can begin checking your home for fire safety, you first need to know the facts about door safety when a fire happens. If a fire happens at night while sleeping, it can spread incredibly fast. However, sleeping with the door closed will buy you 10-15 minutes – the average time it takes a fire to burn through a door. When awakened by a smoke detector or the smell of smoke, focus on getting everyone out immediately.

Always test your door before walking through it if you believe your home is on fire. There could be fire behind it that is ready to spread into your room once you open it. To test a door, press your fingers to the wood and see if it is warm or hot. If so, do not exit through that door. You should also never grab the door handle first as it can cause serious burns. Be sure to identify alternate exits in case this happens, like a window.

Test Your Doors and Windows

After you know the basics about fire door safety, you need to test your doors and windows to be sure you can exit easily through them.

  • Double check that all hallways and door exits are clear without obstruction. This also helps firefighters navigate through your home easier if they need to perform a rescue.
  • Check that your windows are easy to open. Never paint or nail windows shut in case of an emergency.
  • If you have security bars on your windows, make sure there is a quick release mechanism that will allow you to escape.
  • Plant escape ladders next to windows for easy escape during a fire.

Do not use the window with an air conditioning unit underneath as it can block your escape. Instead, find an alternate nearby route.

Have an Escape Plan

Once you have tested your doors and windows, gather your family and put together an escape plan in case of a fire. In each room, decide the fastest and safest way to get outside from that room. Consider where the nearest door is and if you would have enough time to get to that door. If you don’t, then you will need to use the window. A smart investment is to buy a fire ladder to place in each room where a window escape is the best way to get out. Once you have a plan laid out, be sure to review and practice the various escape routes on a regular basis.

Consider Fire Doors

A fire door is a great door safety initiative to keep your home or business protected. Each fire door has a fire-resistance rating that helps block the spread of fire and smoke throughout your property. While a regular door can last up to 15 minutes against a fire, the fire door rating indicates the length of time each fire rated door can last, ranging from 20 minutes up to three hours. If you are interested in longer protection from a fire, speak with a door professional to learn if a fire door is right for your property and needs.

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