ICC: ‘Don’t get burned — build to code’

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Building codes, standards and the diligence of dedicated Building Safety Professionals are important ingredients in keeping our communities safe. So are the efforts each of us can take individually. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, residential sprinklers, and passive fire-rated construction practices are some of the safety measures outlined in fire and building codes published by the International Code Council (ICC). Compliance with the International Codes, or I-Codes, provides minimum safeguards for fire prevention and protection in jurisdictions throughout the United States. Other safety measures such as creating escape plans and avoiding careless smoking habits are keys to minimizing damages from fires and saving lives.

Since 1980, Building Safety Month has been an annual public safety awareness campaign. The theme for week one of Building Safety Month 2015, May 4-10, is “Don’t Get Burned—Build to Code.”

“More than 2,500 Americans died in residential fires last year, and, in most cases, the homes did not have working smoke alarms,” explained ICC Board of Directors President Guy Tomberlin, CBO. “Smoke alarms have been required in the I-Codes for more than 40 years. Building Safety Month shines the spotlight on fire service and code officials who are working every day to develop and apply safety measures to protect citizens in their homes and the built environment.”

The following are tips and information to help prevent fires in your home:

• Install and maintain a smoke alarm on every level of your home and replace the batteries every year.
• Children under the age of five are twice as likely to die in home fires, so create escape plans and make sure everyone in your home practices them.
• Never leave cooking unattended because a serious fire can start in seconds.
• When buying a space heater, look for the auto-off feature and keep them located at least three feet away from other objects.
• If you smoke, practice these fire-safety tips: don’t leave a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended; if you feel drowsy, put it out immediately; use deep ashtrays; and never smoke in bed.

Since their inclusion in the 2009 International Residential Code, residential fire sprinkler ordinances have been adopted by several hundred U.S. communities for use in one and two family dwellings. Over the past several years, technological advances have improved the reliability of residential fire sprinklers. Learn more.

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