It was 1973 when smoke alarms were first required in the construction codes known today as the I-Codes, published by the International Code Council. To salute this life-saving milestone, the Code Council has dedicated the first week of Building Safety Month 2013, May 6-12, sponsored by the Air Movement and Control Association International, to fire safety and awareness. Smoke alarms have saved countless numbers of lives by alerting people to fires in homes and other buildings.
Carbon monoxide alarms also are a safety requirement in new homes and townhomes with appliances fueled by natural gas, propane, coal, wood, charcoal, oil or kerosene. Affected appliances include furnaces, ranges, water heaters, clothes dryers, room heaters, portable generators and fireplaces.
Most deaths caused by residential fires were in homes that did not have working smoke alarms. Current codes require working smoke alarms on every level of a home, outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms and in each bedroom.
Since 1980, Building Safety Month has been an annual public safety awareness campaign. Many of the 50,000 ICC members schedule community outreach events and school-based programs across the nation to demonstrate the importance of building to code. More information about Building Safety Month is available at www.buildingsafetymonth.org.
The Air Movement and Control Association International is a not for profit international association of the world's manufacturers of related air system equipment. In 1939 the National Board of Fire Underwriters recommended that dampers be installed in the HVAC system to interrupt the passage of smoke, flame and heat during a fire. Since that time, the effectiveness of automatic closing fire and/or smoke dampers and automatic fan shutdown of the HVAC system in preventing the migration of smoke, flame and heat to areas of a building remote from the area of origin has been substantiated by numerous experts in the field of the fire sciences. Throughout the world, fire protection and mechanical engineers continue to incorporate fire and/or smoke dampers into the fire protection design of many types of modern buildings.