Public Awareness Campaign Recognizes Importance of Safe, Sustainably-Built Environments
by Carolyn Berndt
This month, the International Code Council Foundation is raising awareness of the role of building codes in creating safe and sustainable structures, declaring May Building Safety Month. In its 32nd year, Building Safety Month aims to educate communities about building safety and raise public awareness of how building and fire codes help prevent catastrophe, enhance our environment, and protect the public.
Four core themes will be highlighted throughout May:
Week One - Energy and Green Building: spotlighting the latest advancements in sustainable building design.
Week Two - Disaster Safety and Mitigation: raising awareness about how to prepare for a natural disaster and take action when one strikes.
Week Three - Fire Safety and Awareness: protecting homes and workplaces with essential safety precaution measures.
Week Four - Backyard Safety: Keeping outdoor areas are safe from potential hazards.
The Building Safety Month website (www.icc-foundation.org/bsm) offers tools, tips, information, and resources for local elected officials on each of the four themes, as well as a toolkit for planning and promoting local Building Safety Month events in your communities. Cities are encouraged to submit proclamations or resolutions recognizing Building Safety Month, or individual local elected officials can add their name to a list of those supporting Building Safety Month.
While building codes are handled differently across the country, with varying levels of state and local control, the Building Safety Month campaign reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes, a strong and efficient system of code enforcement, and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.
With the recent spate natural disasters, there is a heightened awareness of the value of our buildings, their impact on the environment, and their role in reducing risk caused by a wide range of hazards and threats. This year, the NLC Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee is examining the linkages among climate change adaptation (i.e. preparing for more extreme weather events, coastal sea rise, etc.), building resiliency, disaster mitigation efforts, and the need to protect infrastructure.
In a Presidential Proclamation supporting National Building Safety Month President Obama states, "Resilient infrastructure is essential to an America built to last, and during National Building Safety Month, we recommit to strengthening our Nation's ability to withstand the threats and hazards we face."
The International Code Council (ICC) is a membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention and energy efficiency. ICC develops the codes used to construct residential and commercial buildings, including homes and schools.