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IMPORTANT NOTICE
April 11, 2012

Attention: AMSC Members – Please distribute to all appropriate personnel

Warm weather increases spotlight on window and balcony safety


The recent fall of an Alberta toddler from an apartment block is a stark reminder of the need for window and balcony safety.

The child was injured after falling five storeys from an apartment in the City of Calgary.

Each year, paramedics receive numerous calls after children fall from windows and balconies during warm weather months, an Emergency Medical Services spokesperson says.

Recent research suggests that more than 5,000 North American children are injured each year after falling from windows.

Such falls are preventable by assessing hazards and ensuring that windows are safe in private and public buildings, Alberta Health Services—Emergency Medical Services states.

Numerous provincial, municipal and industrial partners joined together several years ago to form Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety, which provides resources to help address this risk.

Although statistics indicate that more than half of all falls are from the second floor, it is important to take precautions no matter what type of dwelling you live in or rent to others. “Falls occur in single-family homes, townhouses and apartment buildings,” the safety organization states.

To increase child safety, some municipalities include online reminders to tenants, landlords and property managers of safety requirements and suggestions related to windows and balconies. They also remind them to contact their municipal licensing office if they have any questions about window safety devices.

Here are some prevention tips from Alberta Health Services and Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety:

  • Be aware that children aged one to four are at the highest risk of falling from a window or balcony
  • Direct supervision is the single most effective way to prevent falls from windows and balconies
  • Safety devices that limit window opening to a maximum of four inches or 10 centimetres are recommended for dwellings
  • Ensure that safety devices can be released quickly so the window can be used for escape in case of fire or other emergency
  • Move tables, stools and other furniture away from windows to prevent access to them
  • Remember that screens are designed to keep bugs out, not to keep children in
  • Be careful about placement of furniture on balconies and decks as they can be used to climb over the railing
  • Consider installing a balcony guard to eliminate access between the vertical bars of a balcony or deck

--Adapted from Alberta Health Services, Partners Promoting Window and Balcony Safety

Read more

If you would like more information on this subject or any Risk related topics please contact Will Burtenshaw at 780-310-AUMA, Ext 4525.

Thank you,

Brian Hamblin
Executive Officer, Risk & Energy Services
Will Burtenshaw
Senior Director, Risk, Claims, and Other Services
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