The home is a place where people feel safe and secure, but what happens in an emergency? As children we have all been taught to rehearse fire safety drills and what to do if something goes wrong. With the ever growing need for living space in our homes the basement has become a popular living and recreation space, but what about getting out, or egress, in an emergency?
Think about the basement for a second. In most homes the stairs go down from the kitchen into a room with a few very small windows and the utilities. These windows barely let any light or air into the room and they certainly would not allow a person to get out. Most basements are like this because they were never intended to be anything more than a storage area. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 42% of all reported home fires start in the kitchen, this now blocks the escape route of anyone in that basement. What can be done to prevent this tragedy from happening?
The International Code Council (ICC) requires that “any basement with habitable space and every sleeping room require an emergency escape and rescue opening”. This can be achieved by installing an egress window system. The best of both worlds these windows provide both form and function. Not only provide additional light and ventilation to the basement but they also provide a life-saving path to quickly get out of the building by simply opening the window and climbing up a ladder.
The ICC also sets a list of strict rules that must be met for the egress window’s installation, therefore it should be done by a qualified professional. For example there are minimum opening sizes, regulations on the height and placement of the window and even restrictions on where the window may exit to. A seasoned installer will know all of these regulations and ensure that all parts of the egress window system meet the required code.
A home should be a place of continued safe and secure living. Please remember when making improvements to your home do not forget about safety. Hire a qualified professional to install an egress system and keep your home up to code and enjoy a beautiful finished basement.