Building Safety Month is a public awareness campaign held each May to help individuals, families and business owners learn how to create and manage safe and sustainable structures. Founded in 1980 by the International Code Council (ICC), which currently has 57,000 members worldwide, the campaign reinforces the need to adopt modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement and a well-trained, professional workforce to develop and maintain safe and sustainable structures where we live, work and play. I wonder if they have safety codes for dog houses? This piques my curiosity.
Each week of the campaign features a unique focus:
Week 1: Building Solutions for All Ages/ More Baby Boomers are ready to Retire—Is the Built Environment Prepared?
Many baby boomers are nearing or entering their retirement years and making decisions about where they will live when they retire. According to a survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 89 percent of the 50-and-older population like their current homes and intend to remain in them for as long as possible. But aging in place is not just about the home. The aging of the population will affect many interior environments.
- Hospitality – restaurants, hotels and motels will need to be accessible (I think it’s especially important to make sure that restaurant kitchens are accessible for canines.)
- Workplace – offices, retail stores and other work spaces will need to provide adequate lighting, seating, technology, task areas and quiet places for older workers
- Healthcare – increased need for outpatient and in-home care, accommodation for caretakers and caregivers
- Retail – stores will need to be accessible and accommodate individuals using assistive devices.
- Multihousing/multiuse – growing demand for livable communities and urban complexes with easy access to health care, entertainment, shopping, bacon, etc.
Week 2: The Science Behind the Codes/Updated Codes and Standards Reset the Bar for Structures to Withstand Disasters
Building codes are made up of requirements for how to design and construct homes and buildings. These code requirements are based on science that involves research in many different areas, including flood proofing, fire-resistance, structural strength, wind design, sustainability, safe drinking water, airflow, energy efficiency, and more. When science reveals ways to improve an area of building safety, these findings can be included in the code requirements and standards.
Week 3: Learn from the Past, Build for Tomorrow/ Disaster Preparedness Ensures Safe and Resilient Homes, Businesses and Communities
“The Boy Scouts of America have the motto, ‘Be Prepared,’ (which) applies to disaster preparedness, as well,” said ICC Board of Directors President Alex Olszowy, III. “It is so easy to forget about keeping up with items we may hardly ever use, such as first-aid kits, bottled water, dry goods, flashlights and spare batteries. You just don’t know when you might be without the amenities we have become accustomed to.” We share Olszowy’s passion for training people to be safe. For more about this topic, see the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services’ blog posts about disaster preparedness.
Week 4: Building Codes, A Smart Investment/ It’s a smart investment to build and remodel your home to the latest codes. A property owner who can show that code requirements were strictly and consistently met––as demonstrated by a code official’s carefully maintained records––has a strong ally if something happens to trigger a potentially destructive lawsuit. Your permit also allows the code official to protect the public by reducing the potential hazards of unsafe construction and ensuring public health, safety, and welfare.
By following code guidelines, the completed project will meet minimum standards of safety and will be less likely to cause injury to you, your family, your friends, your pets, or future owners, plus you’ll benefit from the best energy efficiency construction techniques that will continue to pay you back for the life of your home.
As our nation faces longer wildfire seasons, more severe droughts, heavier rainfall, and more frequent flooding, safeguarding the resilience of our infrastructure is more critical than ever. To learn more about how to prepare for all types of disasters and improve the safety and resilience of the places in which you spend time, visit www.Ready.gov.
Be sure to think about ways to #BeSafe all of the time, not just during National Building Safety Month. A convenient and affordable way to make sure you are prepared for disasters and emergencies of virtually every kind is to subscribe to the RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, which has been designed to help improve and save lives. For more information about the best system out there, or to subscribe, click here.