This Friday marks the kickoff of Building Safety Month, the International Code Council’s annual safety awareness event. The purpose of the event is to bring safety professionals together with community members to promote an understanding of the building code, demonstrate the importance of building permits and inspections, and encourage communities to have a safer, sustainable structures.
Each May, a new theme is chosen, and this year’s theme is “Resilient Communities Start with Building Codes.” This year’s theme could not have been more timely, as the recent devastation in Nepal following the earthquake there was largely the result of a communities being unable to properly implement safety codes in their built environment. Building Safety Month is also divided up into focused weekly themes.
Week One (May 4-10) is “Don’t get Burned—Build to Code!” 2,855 Americans died in home fires in 2013, which cost the U.S. nearly $9.5 billion in property damage, because fire safety codes were ignored. Even something as simple as proper fire alarm installation and maintenance can save lives and lower property damage costs in the event of a fire.
Week Two (May 11-17) is “Bounce Back from Disaster–Build to Code.” In addition to having a disaster preparedness plan complete with supplies and evacuation routes, community members should make sure that their buildings are structurally sound enough to survive natural disasters. Areas prone to earthquakes, floods, avalanches, hurricanes, and tornados all have specific codes which address reinforcing the buildings to withstand these events. Stronger structures translate to huge drops in property damage and resident displacement in the wake of a disaster.
Week Three (May 18-24) is “Water Safe, Water Smart.” With drought conditions reaching epic levels in some parts of the U.S., it’s a good idea to follow the building codes and municipal conservation programs to save money and conserve a precious resource. This week also promotes backyard water safety through meeting the regulations and codes for backyard pools and spas.
Week Four (May 25-31) is “$ave Energy—Build to Code.” This week celebrates energy efficiency in all of its forms, as greener homes tend to have lower energy bills. Electrical system upkeep, gas leak prevention, energy efficient retrofits and more will be on tap for this final week of Building Safety Month 2015.
During Building Safety Month, the 57,000 members of the ICC partner with a diverse network of nonprofits, professional associations, corporations, and government agencies produce awareness and demonstration events in hundreds of cities across the globe. To learn more about participating in Building Safety Month events, or to find a potential partner for presenting events, go to the ICC website.