In April 2004, CBS News broadcasted an eye-opening story about the dangers of wired glass, a material used in schools, hospitals and athletic facilities as a fire deterrent. Wired glass slows the spread of fire by staying in the frame, subsequently preventing flames from passing through the opening. Critics, however, say the design of wired glass poses a serious threat to children and adults.
According to safety organizations such as Advocates for Safe Glass, when a person accidentally shatters wired glass, their injuries from the jagged glass and protruding wires are often extremely severe. Injury reports are often horrific because the wires tend to shred flesh, slicing arteries, nerves and tendons in hands and arms. The material is not as strong as regular plate glass and has only a small fraction of the strength of safety glass. The ease with which it breaks increases the risk of injury.
In May 2004, the International Codes Council amended the International Building Code to require safety glazing (no longer exempting wired glass from the test requirements) in all hazardous locations, including fire-rated doors, in new construction.
The wired glass industry insists that their product is safe and effective when used as directed. They are appealing the ICC decision on procedural grounds. Unless they prevail, the new requirement will take effect as the new model code is adopted by local jurisdictions. However, thousands of old buildings across the country will still use wired glass.
If you have been injured because of wired glass, it may be important to contact an attorney
who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits
within which you must commence suit.
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