President Obama on occupational safety and healthPresident Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring May as Building Safety Month.

“When natural disasters and other hazards put American lives at risk, robust codes and standards for our buildings play an important role in keeping us safe,” the proclamation reads. “They ensure our homes and businesses are resilient to the challenges of our time -- not just by making them structurally sound, but also by boosting their energy efficiency.”

The document acknowledges members of the International Code Council (ICC) and others who develop the American-based International Codes.

“This month, as we pay tribute to professionals who design, construct, and secure our infrastructure, let us raise awareness about building safety and rededicate ourselves to improving it in the days to come.”

The proclamation cites support for cities and towns from coast to coast as they pursue disaster preparedness, mitigation and redevelopment, and urges everyone to get involved in FEMA’s Ready program.

With all 50 states and the District of Columbia voluntarily adopting the International Codes at the state or jurisdictional level, they are the most widely used codes in U.S. cities, counties and states.

The codes include safeguards for the construction of homes and buildings to protect the public from natural disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, snowstorms, wildland fires and earthquakes. The codes also address safe swimming pools and spas, energy efficiency and plumbing. This year, marks the 40th anniversary of smoke alarms in codes. Smoke alarms have saved countless numbers of lives by alerting people to fires in homes and other buildings.
Governors, mayors and other elected officials have also recognize May as Building Safety Month in proclamations. Originating in 1980, Building Safety Month is celebrated annually by jurisdictions across the nation. Many building and fire departments host public events in their communities to raise public awareness of Building Safety Month providing educational materials and presentations.

The ICC says the safety campaign” reinforces the need for the adoption of modern, model building codes; a strong and efficient system of code compliance; and a well-trained, professional workforce to provide public safety. A diverse partnership of building safety, design and construction professionals, corporations, government agencies, professional associations and nonprofits come together to support Building Safety Month because they understand the need for safe and sustainable structures where we live, work and play.”

Sponsors of this year’s Building Safety Month include the American Gas Association, the Air Movement and Control Association, and BASF.