If you find yourself in the middle of a fire you’re not going to concern yourself whether a window is a designated fire escape or not. If you can open it, you’ll get out. That’s how you avoid being one of the fifty people that die every year in house fires.
However, if you’re on the first floor or higher, simply climbing out a window may not be enough to save you. A designated fire escape window is more than just a window that opens fully to facilitate escape. It should also be part of a pre-planned escape route, giving you somewhere to go to get safely away from the fire.
What Are Fire Windows
To clarify, a fire window looks like a standard window but it opens fully. This allows people to escape through the window. Normally, these windows have a catch system that is only broken in the event of a fire.
The best fire windows only open a little in normal operation. This is enough to ventilate the space. Then, in the event of a fire, the catch is broken, allowing the full window to open and you can make your escape.
The catch is a simple way of ensuring people don’t tamper with the window and leave it open. As fire windows are usually installed on the first floor or higher, they need to prevent access in normal circumstances.
You don’t want it left open allowing someone to fall out.
Replacing Your Windows
There will be strict guidelines covering the replacement of windows in your property. This s particularly relevant if your property is in a designated zone where developments are strictly controlled.
The good news is that, in most cases, you can replace your windows with something that looks the same.
If you’re building a home, then the regulations state that every habitable room on the first floor or higher needs to have a fire escape window. However, if you are renovating an existing home the same regulations do not apply.
This is simply because it’s difficult to order a retrofit of all buildings. If the state insisted you replace them with fire windows people would stop replacing windows.
But, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add fire windows. The truth is that they save lives. You’ll also find it easier to sell your property if you have fire windows.
Therefore, while it’s not compulsory to replace windows with fire escape ones it is a good idea. You’ll be grateful if you or a loved one is in a fire.
You should note that it’s not just upstairs rooms that need fire windows. Any ground floor room without access to a secured fire escape route should also have fire escape windows fitted.
The Next Step
Replacing all the windows in your home can be expensive. You may wish to budget for several at a time. That means you need to create a fire escape plan. This will help you to identify the rooms that are hardest to escape from. Those are the ones that should have fire escape windows fitted first.