Code Council’s Building Safety Month Is an Opportunity for Fire and Building Departments to Enhance Safety in the Built Environment

Educate the public on building safety throughout May; third week focuses on fire safety & awareness

By Bruce Johnson, Director of Fire Service Activities, International Code Council – Government Relations

During the month of May, the International Code Council Foundation is hosting its 32nd Annual Building Safety Month. Building Safety Month is supported by the more than 50,000 members of the International Code Council, which includes fire service and building officials, allied organizations, companies, and the construction industry through a public awareness campaign complete with community events, safety demonstrations, and educational outreach.  It is an opportunity for fire departments and building departments to collaborate on public safety issues.

The global campaign focuses on building safety and sustainability. It highlights four specific focused weekly themes:  Green & Energy, Disaster Safety & Mitigation, Fire Safety & Awareness, and Backyard Safety.  This approach reinforces each of the topics with specific safety tips for each week of the campaign, including its own web site,

Fire is a major threat to safety, and in 2010 more than 362,000 residential fires caused 2,555 deaths, over 13,000 injuries, and more than $6.5 billion in property damage costs. The United States Fire Association (USFA) states that the top five fire-safety topics most frequently identified with home fire deaths are smoke alarms, escape plans, child fire safety, older adult fire safety (cooking and heating), and careless smoking.  So what can you do to prevent fires in your home? Visit Fire Safety & Awareness Week to learn valuable home fire safety tips that will keep your family safe and make great public educational messages that will keep your community safe.

Local, state, and national leaders support the campaign with proclamations, ceremonies, and events. Code Council members engage the news media with editorials, Letters to the Editor, news releases, and make themselves available for interviews. For the second consecutive year, President Barack Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring May as National Building Safety Month. White House recognition of the critical nature of a safe, strong, and sustainable built environment helps to validate the value of Building Safety Month to public safety, first responder safety, and the code officials who ensure safe and sustainable construction.

Momentum for 2012 Building Safety Month is growing and stakeholder involvement is a key component to the success of the campaign. National organizations such as FEMA, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, AMCA International, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, and BASF Corporation, along with many others, have joined the campaign. You can show your individual support by clicking on the “I-Support” tab at  and completing the information. Encourage your colleagues, family, and friends to support by sharing the “I-Support” link and help us reach our goal of 5,000 supporters for the cause of building safety.

After you have supported Building Safety Month, help us increase the buzz by joining the conversation on the Building Safety Month pages on Facebook and Twitter. We want to hear what you as a member of the fire service has to say and what you are doing to educate the public about how to protect against residential fires, wildfires, and other natural disasters.

If you have an idea, contact us. We welcome your participation in Building Safety Month and look forward to your engagement.