How to Break a Double Glazed Window in a Fire?

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Double glazed windows are designed for enhanced security, energy efficiency, and noise reduction, making them a popular choice for homeowners. However, in an emergency, such as a fire, these same attributes can pose a challenge if you need to break the window to escape. Understanding the right techniques and safety measures can be lifesaving. 

This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to break a double glazed Upvc window in a fire. Ensure you are well-prepared for such a critical situation.

Understanding Double Glazed Windows

Double glazed windows consist of two layers of glass with a space between them, typically filled with air or inert gas. This design provides excellent insulation and security, but also makes them more difficult to break compared to single-pane windows. Knowing this, it’s essential to have a plan in place for emergencies.

Assessing the Situation

Before attempting to break a window, quickly assess the situation. Determine if the window is the best escape route or if there are safer alternatives. If the room is filled with smoke or fire is blocking other exits, breaking the window may be your only option.

Choosing the Right Tool

The effectiveness of breaking a double glazed window largely depends on the tool you use. Household items such as a hammer, wrench, or even a heavy lamp can be effective. Specialized emergency tools like a glass breaker or an escape hammer are ideal for this purpose. Keep an emergency tool in an easily accessible location in your home.

Protecting Yourself

Safety is paramount when breaking a window. Use a cloth, blanket, or any thick fabric to wrap your hand and the tool you are using. This will protect you from potential cuts from broken glass. Additionally, if time permits, put on shoes to protect your feet from glass shards.

Identifying the Best Spot to Break

The corners and edges of the window are generally the weakest points. Aim for these areas rather than the center. By targeting the corners, you increase the chances of breaking the glass more efficiently.

Breaking the Outer Pane

Start by striking the outer pane of the double glazed window. Use firm, controlled strikes with your chosen tool. Avoid wild swings that could cause injury or miss the intended target. It may take several hits to crack and break the glass, given the reinforced nature of double glazed windows.

Removing Remaining Glass

Once the outer pane is broken, clear away any remaining shards around the edges. Use a cloth or glove to carefully remove pieces of glass to create a clean exit path. Be cautious to avoid cutting yourself.

Breaking the Inner Pane

After successfully breaking the outer pane, focus on the inner pane. Use the same method of striking the corners or edges until the glass breaks. Ensure you clear away any remaining shards to prevent injury when exiting.

Creating an Escape Path

With both panes broken, use a blanket, curtain, or clothing to cover the window frame and remaining glass shards. This creates a safer passage for you to climb through. If possible, clear away any additional debris outside the window to ensure a clear landing area.

Exiting Safely

Carefully climb through the window, avoiding any remaining glass. If the window is high off the ground, assess the drop and try to use a rope or sturdy fabric to lower yourself safely. If this isn’t possible, try to find a soft landing area or position yourself to minimize injury upon landing.

Seeking Immediate Help

Once outside, move a safe distance away from the building and call emergency services immediately. Provide them with your location and details about the fire. Stay away from the building and avoid re-entering for any reason.

Preventive Measures

Preparation is key to safety. Regularly check that all windows and emergency tools are in good working condition. Educate all household members on how to use emergency tools and the procedure for breaking a window in case of fire. Conduct regular fire drills to ensure everyone knows the safest escape routes.

Installing Safety Features

Consider installing safety features such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, and fire ladders. Smoke detectors provide early warnings, giving you more time to react. Fire extinguishers can help control small fires, and fire ladders can provide an alternative escape route from upper floors.

Reviewing Fire Safety Plans

Regularly review and update your fire safety plans. Ensure that everyone in your household is familiar with the escape routes and emergency procedures. Practice these plans periodically to keep everyone prepared and reduce panic in an actual emergency.

Understanding Fire Behavior

Educate yourself on basic fire behavior. Understanding how fires spread and where they are likely to start can help you make more informed decisions during an emergency. This knowledge can be crucial in quickly determining the safest escape route.

Keeping Emergency Contacts Handy

Ensure that emergency contact numbers are easily accessible. Have a list of emergency services, neighbors, and family members that you can call in case of a fire. This can expedite getting help and notifying loved ones of your situation.

Maintaining Clear Exits

Keep all exits, including windows, clear of obstructions. Regularly inspect and ensure that windows open easily and are not blocked by furniture or other items. Clear exits facilitate quick and efficient evacuation during an emergency.

Regular Window Inspections

Regularly inspect your double glazed windows for any signs of damage or wear. Ensure that the seals are intact and the glass is in good condition. Address any issues promptly to maintain the integrity and functionality of your windows.


Being prepared for an emergency, such as a fire, is crucial for the safety of you and your loved ones. Understanding how to break a double glazed window can be a lifesaving skill. By following the steps outlined above and maintaining a proactive approach to fire safety, you can ensure a higher level of preparedness. 

Upgrade your home with high-quality uPVC windows for superior insulation and energy efficiency. Double glazing in Glasgow enhances comfort while reducing energy costs year-round.

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Written by Michalle Scote

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