Quick-release window security bars
October 8, 2011 12:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find window security bars that can be opened from the inside in the case of fire but can't seem to find a way to buy them.

This almost seems like too dumb of a question to Ask Metafilter, but Google and Home Depot have not turned up the answers for me.

I'm in Oakland, trying to put security bars over about 6 vinyl windows in a stucco building, and I'd like the people sleeping in those bedrooms to be able to get out in case of a fire. My ideal solution would be something like they build in this video, but I don't live in LA.

My searches mainly turn up flimsy-looking systems that wouldn't actually deter thieves, or preachy webpages about the need for quick release systems. Where does one buy such a thing??

Did I mention I need the low-budget option here? (Almost all of my building supply purchases have come from the salvage warehouse.) I'd learn to weld if that was the best way to go, but it really might not be, considering that I have few tools. I welcome all options, but if you have lower-cost ideas, please share them. Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.
posted by slidell to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I hope someone has some first-hand advice for you, but I'll mention that the Oakland Fire Prevention Bureau number is (510) 238-3851, and I'm thinking that there's a good chance they may have some have recommendations or pointers since they deal with fire code inspection/information.

(This is their staff page; All the Oakland Fire Department numbers here.)
posted by taz at 3:03 AM on October 8, 2011

When I was considering window bars, I found that my local Home Depot didn't carry them, but another regional chain (Menard's) did have them in stock. One potential answer could be: keep shopping.

Might be difficult to offer suggestions that would meet both your criteria: low-budget on one hand and not "flimsy-looking" on the other. If you've already looked at the products you can find online by googling for window bars, burglar bars, security bars--that seems to be what's out there in that price range. I could note that the interior basic white bars do seem to be as solid as the nicer-looking ironwork decorative ones.

Couple of other differences between the video you've found and the in-stock bars I've found: those in-stock bars were interior bars. They had a way to get out in an emergency, but it wasn't as easy as the obvious, simple release stirrup that they show in your video.
posted by gimonca at 7:05 AM on October 8, 2011

Check out Architectural supply companies.That is where contractors buy commercial door hardware of any description.
posted by plumberonkarst at 11:01 AM on October 8, 2011

Response by poster: What I've found so far: Reed's Bros. Security charges $66 for the bars (24"x36"), $145 for the foot pedal quick release, $30 for the hinges, and $250 for a standard installation. Almost $500/window, or half that if I can do the installation myself. If I can find a cheaper option, I will. Also, the foot pedal didn't work that well when I tried it. You had to use a lot of force. Not ideal if the hypothetical trapped person is not strong.

Also, to respond to your concern, gimonca, that I won't be able to find something sturdy for cheap, maybe I should clarify that it's not that I want 3" titanium or anything; I just want your standard old "metal bars on windows" thing. For some reason my google searches kept finding interior systems designed to keep kids from falling out of windows that looked like they used toilet-paper-roll-holder spring technology or were made of balsa wood.
posted by slidell at 1:07 PM on October 8, 2011

Have you tried using the search term "burglar bars"? That's what they're known as in my area.
posted by MexicanYenta at 4:59 AM on October 9, 2011

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