Fire Safety and Double Glazing: Making an Escape



In the past, the breakability of windows was an all too common problem. Window panes could shatter or crack so easily that glass-cutters were kept very busy repairing them. Today, the opposite is true, and it is so hard to break modern panes that window companies are seldom called out to replace them.

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Why are modern windows so hard to break?

Double-glazed windows are so impact resistant that it takes a concerted effort to break them. This is due firstly to the fact that toughened glass panels are used to resist break-in or accidental damage; secondly, the structure of double-glazed panels is very resilient – there are two panels to get through rather than one, and the layer of gas that fills the void between them acts as a very effective shock absorber.

What do I need to do in an emergency?

What about situations in which it suddenly becomes urgent to break your window? The most obvious emergency situation where this would be vital is in the event of a fire. These are the three pieces of advice that would help you to break through the window and make a quick escape:

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1. Strike the window squarely in one of the two lower corners with a heavy blunt object, ideally a hammer. A blow to the centre of the pane would bounce back.

2. Fit a breakout glass unit. Again, these are most efficient if placed on either of the corners at the bottom of the window.

3. When you have broken the first pane, use the same object to reach through the hole and attempt to shatter the second pane.

The glass will shatter into tiny crystal-like pieces, which you can push through and escape.

Whether you are in London, New York or Dublin windows and doors could prove to be an obstacle in the event of a fire. There are many window companies, such as www.keanewindows.ie, that could give you more information on what to do to break out; alternatively, resources are available online.

It is a good idea to think about what you would do in the event of an emergency and perhaps purchase some small hammers or other tools to use if you ever need to.

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