houseMay’s Building Safety Month has been used since its inception in 1980 as an opportunity to promote public awareness about a variety of building hazards.

The theme for week one of this year's Building Safety Month, sponsored by the American Wood Council (AWC), is “Code Officials: Keeping Fire in its Place.”

“Code officials, along with the fire service, architects, engineers, builders and the public, help to develop construction safety codes and standards,” said International Code Council (ICC) Board President Stephen D. Jones. “During Building Safety Month, and throughout the year, many Code Council members schedule community outreach events and school-based programs across the nation to demonstrate the importance of building to code.”

“Properly implemented building codes are critical to any building material performing to its highest standard; and properly constructed and code compliant wood structures have an excellent fire record in North America,” said AWC President and CEO Robert Glowinski.

Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, fire sprinklers, and passive fire-rated construction such as fire walls and fire doors designed to stop the spread of fire are among the safety measures in fire and building codes published by the (ICC) and widely used in the built environment throughout the United States provide minimum safeguards for fire prevention and protection. Whether a home or building is constructed of wood, brick, concrete or steel, code compliance is the key to minimizing the damage from fires and saving lives.

 Smoke alarms have been required in the ICC’s International Codes (I-Codes) for more than 40 years. The I-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.

Experts agree that consumers should replace smoke alarm batteries and test the alarms every year. Smoke alarms more than 10 years old should be replaced. Three out of five home fire deaths in 2007-2011 resulted from fires in properties without working smoke alarms, according to the National Fire Protection Association report, “Smoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires.”

ICC is a partner in the U.S. Fire Administration’s “Fire Is Everyone’s Fight” campaign. More information about Building Safety Month and fire safety tips are available at