Preparing a Building Safety Plan
Week 2 – May 6 - 12
Week 2 of Building Safety Month 2024 focuses on how building safety impacts our everyday life and highlights the things we can do at home to stay safe. Here we share fire and water safety tips and home maintenance best practices, how to prepare for a disaster and how to plan ahead to limit damages to buildings from natural hazards in your community, and how to be more sustainable to ensure a cleaner and greener tomorrow.
Fire, Water and Electrical Safety
Modern homes and buildings incorporate the latest building codes and are designed to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. While building safety professionals help maintain this system, there are preventative tasks that all contribute to occupant health, occupant safety and security and overall sustainability (more on this in the last section).
Here we've listed a few brief fire safety tips, and be sure to also download and review our guides on home fire, electrical and water safety below.
- Put a smoke alarm on every level of your home, outside each sleeping area and inside every bedroom.
- Test each smoke alarm regularly. Keep batteries fresh by replacing them annually.
- Make an escape plan so everyone knows how to get out fast. Pick a meeting place outside the home where everyone will meet.
- Portable heaters need their space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away.
- Keep all items that can burn away from your home, clean leaves from your gutters and clear dead leaves and branches from shrubs and trees.
Disaster Preparedness and Mitigation
According to FEMA, one of the most cost-effective ways to safeguard our communities against disasters is to adopt and follow hazard-resistant building codes – not only are causalities reduced, but the cost of building damage is also reduced during a disaster. Beyond that, it's an individual, family and community responsibility to know which disasters you're at an increased risk for, and how to mitigate those risks by leveraging tips and building codes specific to each disaster. Review these simple, life-saving tips in the resources below, and visit Ready.gov for specific tips on dealing with earthquakes, extreme heat, floods, home fires, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires and more.
- Develop a family action plan and share with everyone in your family, so you will know where to go if an evacuation is called.
- Review at least two exit routes from your home or neighborhood to a designated meeting place for your family.
- Create a disaster supply kit that will allow you to remain in your home after a disaster or for use after evacuating to a safer location. Be sure the necessities in your kit are fresh and restored as necessary.
- Stay tuned to radio, TV and NOAA Weather Radio for official updates and critical life saving weather information. Remember, reception is usually best if placed near a window.
Sustainability at Home
The Code Council is helping our communities forge a path forward on energy and sustainability to confront the impacts of a changing climate, and these guiding tenants can be used at home, too! With fresh water supplies at risk and an ever-increasing load on the power grid threatening communities around the world, every proactive step we take at home makes a big difference in decreasing our footprint and burden on the system. Keep these tips (more below) in mind the next time you set your thermostat, plan a home renovation and more.
- Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow faucet aerators, and use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks.
- Never dump anything down storm drains.
- Change the filters in the heating and cooling system of your home regularly.
- Replace your light bulbs with LEDs, which use up to 90 percent less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
- Design your home with materials that are easily recyclable, reusable, renewable, durable, affordable and low maintenance.
- Build a rain garden to capture roof drainage and divert it to your garden or landscaping. Be sure to check your local rules on rainwater harvesting prior to installation.