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FGIA: Beware, be safe

Teaching customers about window safety is just good business

July 5, 2022  By Angela Dickson

Summer is here. The warmer weather provides the opportunity to enjoy fresh air through open windows. However, to avoid accidental falls from windows, it’s imperative for fenestration and glazing companies to educate customers on how to keep kids safe.

This doesn’t require great effort. Post tips on your website, print window-safety activity books or share information via social media. These simple steps could save a life. The FGIA Window Safety Task Force offers multiple resources to make it easy to spread the word.

Promoting greater awareness of window safety is the objective of the WSTF, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The task force is comprised of representatives from the FGIA and the Window and Door Manufacturers Association, in cooperation with the U.S. National Safety Council. It encourages parents and caregivers to recognize the importance of practicing window safety during Window Safety Week, observed each spring during the first full-week of April and year-round. 

Especially this time of year, when windows are opened to let in fresh air, open windows pose a dangerous threat for young children who are not properly supervised. The WSTF provides seven tips to keep children safe:

  1. When young children are around, keep windows closed and locked.
  2. When opening a window for ventilation, use those located out of a child’s reach.
  3. Don’t place furniture near windows where young children can climb and gain access to an open window.
  4. Supervise children to keep child’s play away from windows, balconies and patio doors.
  5. Don’t allow children to jump on beds or other furniture to help reduce potential falls.
  6. Don’t rely on insect screens to prevent a window fall. Insect screens are designed to keep bugs out, not children in.
  7. Install ASTM F2090-compliant devices designed to limit how far a window will open to help prevent a fall. 

The WSTF also provides a number of resources for our industry, like a tool-kit for companies; a gallery of downloadable images; an easy-to-understand infographic about window safety; a children’s activity- and colouring-book and social media posts that are easy to share with your followers – all to help you educate your customers. 

ASTM F2090 sets criteria for devices considered to be window-fall-prevention devices. According to its provisions, there are two types of window-opening control devices: single-action and dual-action. The release of WOCDs can be either through the use of two independent single-action devices installed on a single window or one dual-action device installed on a single window. For example, a single-action device would be a lever that can be flipped in, with two such devices installed on the same window. A dual-action device requires two separate, distinct and consecutive actions to release the WOCD, such as pushing in one button while sliding over a lever. For both types, the WOCD device must automatically reset when the sash is closed.

Codes in Canada are addressing window safety, too. Recent changes to the National Building Code of Canada 2020 now limit how far a window can open on the second storey of a newly built single-detached home. As reported in Journal of Commerce by ConstructConnect, “Prior to the changes, no restrictions existed for single-detached homes on how much a second-storey window could open or how close to the finished floor an openable window could be positioned.”

As a member of the fenestration industry, it’s in your company’s best interest to foster and ensure only the most positive customer interactions with your products. Being proactive and informed shows your customers you care about their wellbeing and that of their families. More information is available on the FGIA’s website at fgiaonline.org/windowsafety and the WSTF’s social media accounts to help you better understand and inform your customers. 

Angela Dickson, FGIA marketing and communications director and co-chair of the Window Safety Task Force

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