Tips for Creating a Safer Home

safehome
(ARA) - How securely attached are the screens in your windows? Would they stop a playful puppy from tumbling out ... or an intruder from getting into your home?

Does your family regularly practice how to handle emergencies, such as stove fires, sudden violent storms or burst pipes? Would your children know how to unlock a window and escape from a fire?

When you have a family, there's a lot to think about. Building a safe, secure home is one of the top priorities for all parents. From selecting reliable products during the construction of a home to monitoring children at play, creating a safe environment is an ongoing task for parents.

Whether you're thinking about building a new home or renovating a cherished, older home, Simonton Windows, a leading manufacturer of quality vinyl windows and patio doors, has some advice for you. The experts encourage you to give top priority to selecting products that protect your family -- from storms, intruders and unforeseen accidents.

If you think that windows are just the pieces of glass that allow light and air to flow in and out of your home, think again. Have you ever researched the best styles of windows to have in a home with small children? Do you know what type of glass you should have in windows to help prevent noise penetration and discourage intruders? Are your utility bills soaring because your current windows lack energy efficiency features?

Knowing your windows means knowing how to create a safer home for your family. Take this fast and easy window test to learn how safe your home is:

Question #1 -- When was the last time your entire family held a practice nighttime fire drill in your home?

Answer -- Experts recommend practicing safety drills regularly -- at least twice a year -- and in the dark, without the aid of electricity that may fail in a fire. Small children tend to "hide" from fire, so make sure your children are familiar with escape routes, have flashlights near their beds and know how to move quickly out of the home. Also, establish a meeting location away from the house to assure that family members can be accounted for after exiting the home.

Question #2 -- How much do you allow windows to be opened to increase air flow in your home?

Answer -- While gaining ventilation is important in the home, so is safety. If you have pets or small children, realize that window screens are intended just to keep insects outside, not to hold children inside. Screens will not support the weight of a child or frisky pet.

For added safety in your home, consider opening just the top sash of a double hung window for ventilation. Or, install windows, such as those from Simonton, that offer ventilation locks that allow the window to be partially opened for fresh air while remaining securely locked.

Question #3 -- During the holidays, do you staple decorations or lights to the inside of your windows, have candles lit in the windows or use spray foam "snow" on the windows?

Answer -- Windows are not constructed to serve as "hitching posts" for holiday decorations. Anytime you nail or staple into them -- or attach decorative accessories directly to the glass -- you're compromising the structure and safety of the unit itself. Melted wax on window frames can damage the sills and seep into the frame, making it difficult to open. Lights attached to the frame serve as a safety hazard, both from an electrical standpoint and by hampering egress from the home. Want to play it safe? Decorate around windows during the holidays, not on them.

Question #4: Does your nighttime and pre-vacation checklist include locking all windows?

Answer -- Make certain to keep windows locked when not at home and in the evenings (especially in children's rooms) to prevent a "quiet thief" from entering your home. While most glass in windows can be broken with a crowbar or baseball bat (except impact resistant glass found in some window units), intruders don't like to make noise. So, the first way to keep your family safe and secure is simply to get in the habit of keeping windows and doors locked when not in use.