A window maybe able to provide an alternative means of escape in case of fire.
Buildings should have an alternative means of escape in case of fire that has already impacted your building’s stairs and hallways. In some cases, a window may provide a means of escape. The National Fire Protection Association calls these secondary means of escape egress windows. NFPA has set up some requirements for such windows. All living areas should have such means of egress. Does this Spark an idea?
NFPA egress requirements for windows state that you should be able to open an egress window from inside your house without the use of any tools or keys. Windows should be large enough to allow a firefighter to crawl through the window with his gear and air tank. New windows should provide a free and clear opening of at least 5.7 square feet. Older windows should have openings of at least 5 square feet. The egress window should be at least 20 inches wide and 24 inches tall. The bottom of the window opening should not be more than 44 inches above the ground.
If a window meets only the bare minimum dimension requirements and is no more than 20 inches wide and 24 inches tall, it does not satisfy the NFPA egress requirements. With these dimensions, it provides a clear opening of only 3.33 square feet and does not meet NFPA requirements.
In case an egress window does not meet the minimum clear opening requirements, it can meet some other criteria the NFPA provides in order to be acceptable for egress purposes. One such alternative is if fire department rescue apparatus can directly access the window. The authority that has jurisdiction over your area can determine this. Another way to meet the NFPA code requirements for these windows is if the window opens onto an exterior balcony.