If you’re planning to turn your basement into usable living space, an emergency egress window is likely to be part of your plans. These are large windows designed to be set into the wall of the basement and used as a means of escape in the event of a fire. It’s a great idea, but it does change the look of your house. It’s important that any new landscaping or decor doesn’t interfere with the window’s function.
Here are some things that you need to think about when landscaping or decorating around your new basement egress window.
Disguise it, but don’t block it.
From the inside of the basement, that big new window looks like a blank canvas. From the outside, it looks like a big hole with a window in it. Your first instinct may be to fill it with plants.
The well around an egress window is a good place for small planters, but keep in mind that someone trying to escape from the basement needs to be able to scramble out of the window well. Use small planters, so that they can easily be moved out of the way. Ceramic pots can shatter and cause injury. You can also use plastic planters. They won’t detract from the appearance of your plantings since a person standing at ground level won’t see the actual container.
Decorate the opening, but don’t impair its function.
Planters that sit directly on the floor of the window well must not interfere with the escape function. Test this by putting the empty pots in their new locations, then using the exit window. Does the window still open all the way? Is it easy to get past the planter and up the side of the exit? Everyone who uses the basement needs to be able to get out this way, so take age, size, and physical ability into consideration.
Family members need to get out, but firefighters need to get in.
An exit window isn’t just for people trying to get out. If someone is trapped in the basement, or if the main entrances to the upstairs are engulfed in flames, it may be the only way for firefighters to get in. Make their job easier and safer by following these tips.
- Don’t hide the window with tall shrubs — first responders often work in dark, smoky circumstances. You want them to be able to help your family right away.
- If the window is separated from a walkway by a fence or other barrier, make sure that there is a clear area next to it so that a rescuer has a place to stand.
- Keep the floor under the window free of furniture and other obstacles. If a child or other family member needs to climb on something to use the exit, place a low, sturdy table at one side of the window. This allows egress without creating a hazard for rescuers.
For more information on how to add an egress window to your basement, consider contacting a professional like those at Property Service Agency LLC.Read More