January 10, 2020

Window Guard Grant Reimbursement Available for Allentown Property Owners

Allentown property owners and landlords can be reimbursed for supplies and time for installing pre-approved Window Opening Control Devices (WOCDs) in residential housing units.
 
The Allentown Health Bureau has obtained a $20,000 grant from the Highmark Foundation for the program.
 
With the support of grant funds, the property owners will be reimbursed the cost of the WOCD up to a certain amount and a fixed rate for the installation of the aforementioned WOCD on each window in the unit. A property owner or manager is eligible to receive funds for a maximum of 15 windows on the second floor or above across multiple properties.
 
According to Safe Kids USA, approximately a dozen children under the age of 10 will die and another 4,000 will suffer injuries from falling out of windows this year in the United States. Children living in apartment buildings have the highest number of window fall incidents – five times more than children in residences. In recent years, Allentown has experienced these events first-hand. City Council passed an ordinance in May requiring landlords to install window guards in all windows if a child 10 years or younger lives in or spends considerable time in a rental unit.
 
“This grant will give Allentown property owners an easy, low cost way to implement the window guard ordinance to ensure the safety of their occupants and tenants,” said Allentown Community and Economic Development Director Leonard Lightner.
 
“Every home with multiple floors with young children residing in them should consider installing WOCDs in their windows – screens are not designed to stop children from falling out of windows,” said Dave Synnamon, Injury Prevention Manager with the Allentown Health Bureau. “WOCDs should be installed to prevent windows from opening no more than 4 inches – and any WOCDs should comply with ASTM F2090, which provides minimum requirements for window fall prevention devices to ensure that they can be easily removed or opened when necessary.”
 
“We are pleased to support the Allentown Health Bureau through this grant to provide window opening control devices. Grant support will help to reduce the burden of falls and childhood injuries,” said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. “Prevention programs, like this one, can lead to better health outcomes for children residing in Allentown.”
 
According to the Center for Disease Control, unintentional falls were the leading cause of nonfatal injuries seen in emergency departments in 2017 for children 9 and under. Children falling from windows is a significant portion of these injuries.
 
A minimum of 125 housing units and as many as 400 children in Allentown will be safer because of WOCDs.
 
To view and download instructions, the application and additional documentation, visit https://www.allentownpa.gov/Health-Bureau. All applications must be submitted in person to the Allentown Health Bureau at 245 N. 6th St, Allentown. If you have questions about the program, call the Health Bureau at 610-437-7760 or email injuryprevention@allentownpa.gov.