Quick Release Burglar Bars Save Lives
Though burglar bars provide a measure of protection from those who might try breaking into a home or business, the metal rods can trap a person scrambling to escape a fire. They also can prevent firefighters from entering a burning building.
Imagine this scenario: A fire rages inside your home. Flames block the bedroom door, and the only other way to escape the room is through a window. But stationary burglar bars cover the window opening, prohibiting a getaway for you or a family member.
On average, about 25 people are killed or injured each year in the United States due to illegal burglar bars. "Most fatalities/injuries involving burglar bars occur in residences, when people become entrapped by the very bars that are supposed to protect them," states a United States Fire Administration report.
If there are no more than two exits in a room, and one of those exits has burglar bars, Hillsborough County property codes mandate the bars be the quick-release type. The release must be easy to activate from inside the building. It cannot be operated only with a key or special tool.
If you plan to install or replace burglar bars, be sure to get ones that are safe and comply with County regulations. If you rent a home, apartment, or business, make sure any burglar bars have quick-release latches. If your landlord does not comply, call Hillsborough County Code Enforcement at (813) 274-6600.