May is Building Safety Month
Did you know that each May is dedicated as Building Safety Month? The International Code Council (ICC) chose May as the month when federal, state and local government officials across the United States take the time to raise awareness about building safety. They also use the time to thank and commend those who play an important role.
Building Safety Month is the time to share important public safety messages for families, individuals and business owners on why safety codes are the first step to safeguard your home or business. They are important to protect homes and businesses from disasters like structural collapse, fire or weather-related events, and reinforce the needed for a strong and efficient code enforcement system, regularly-updated building codes, and a trained workforce.
Each week, a different aspect of building safety is explored throughout the month.
Week 1: Building Safety Starts at Home
Because building safety starts at home, you should adopt safe practices and take important security measures such as these:
- Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and inside every bedroom
- Test all your smoke alarms regularly and replace batteries annually
- Create an escape plan and practice it with your family. Designate exits and how to access them, and a gathering place outside the home where everyone should meet in case of an emergency.
- Keep items that can burn away from the home. This can include dead branches and leaves, debris, and leaves from gutters.
Week 2: Building Safety Professionals and You
Building safety professionals, a group composed of building inspectors of all kinds, are the “silent defenders” of public safety and they play an important role in keeping your home, business and public buildings like schools safe. Highly trained in safety codes, they provide guidance and advice to architects, engineers and contractors, conduct safety inspections, and enforce code compliance to ensure the latest building codes are being upheld. These safety checks can protect a home or business from the stress of everyday and emergencies.
Week 3: Prepare Your Community
This week focuses on how hazard-resistant building codes protect your home and communities, and limit damage, from disasters like flooding, earthquakes, tornados, hurricanes and wildfires. It is recommended to create an evacuation and communication plan, and have an emergency supply kit on hand. Also, learn about the risk for climate-related events and their worsening projections for your area.
- Develop a family action plan, and designate at least two exit routes from your home or neighborhood, along with a designated meeting place
- Create a disaster supply kit that will allow you to remain in your home or for use after evacuating to a safe location. Refresh the necessities as necessary.
- Stay tuned to radio, TV and NOAA Weather Radio for official updates and lifesaving weather information.
Week 4: Advocate for Your Community
Take a role in making sure where you live, work and play are safe spaces. Share fact-based information on your social media and safety information with those around you. Plan a community event to raise awareness. And visit inspecttoprotect.org to see if your local building codes are up to date. Get the kids involved too.
Week 5: Solving Challenges Together
This week focuses on addressing some of the issues we face as a global community, including extreme weather events and water scarcity. More than two billion people live in water-stresses countries, and this is expected to worsen due to climate change and population growth, states the World Health Organization (WHO). Water-scarcity innovations, disaster resiliency successes, and modern building codes that increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions help.
Do You Suspect a Building Safety Code Has Not Been Met? Contact Först Consulting Group.
While you’re focusing on building safety this month, take a moment to review any safety concerns you have about your home or business. Are there cracks that need to be looked at? Did a contractor do a shoddy job on a recent repair or remodel?
If you suspect a problem with building codes or construction errors, you have an advocate on your side with Först Consulting Group, a division of The Falcon Group. We created this company to protect home and business owners from safety issues, and to serve as a third-party inspector and representative on your behalf. In addition to home inspections, Först offers building pathology and construction defect inspections, and can serve as your homeowner advocate or expert witness in the event of a construction dispute.
Först Consulting Group is a full-service engineering, architectural and energy consulting firm serving the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Contact Matthew Furlong at Först Consulting Group.