Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Fire Safety & Awareness Targeted During Week Three of Building Safety Month

May 20, 2012

Cooking, careless smoking and heating are leading causes of residential fires

WASHINGTON, May 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — During Week Three of Building Safety Month, the International Code Council Foundation is focusing consumer attention on fire safety and awareness.

In 2010 (the most recent data available) more than 362,000 residential fires caused 2,555 deaths, 13,000-plus injuries and more than $6.5 billion in property damage costs primarily caused by cooking mishaps, careless smoking, heating and arson.

In most cases where death occurred in a residential fire, the home did not have a working smoke alarm. A properly operating smoke alarm can provide the time needed for a safe evacuation. The most recent codes developed by the International Code Council require working smoke detectors on every level of a home, outside each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms and in each bedroom. Replace the detector’s battery, if not hard wired, once a year. It’s a simple way to help keep you and your family better protected 24/7.

Next year, 2013, will mark the 40th year since codes first required smoke detectors, which have saved countless numbers of lives. The International Residential Code since 2009 has required fire sprinklers in all new one- and two-family residences, including townhomes.

Residential fire sprinkler ordinances have been adopted by several hundred U.S. communities and have been shown to provide significant life safety benefits. Adding residential fire sprinklers to the 2009 International Residential Code so that communities can adopt them as part of their local building code is the most important step to reducing residential fire deaths since requiring smoke alarms in residential structures.

Carbon monoxide alarms are required in new construction dwelling units with fuel-fired appliances, and in existing homes where interior alterations include fuel-fired appliance replacements or attached garages.

So what can consumers do prevent residential fires? The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) offers these potentially life-saving tips:<cite> </cite>

  • Children under age five are twice as likely as the rest of us to die in a home fire. Create an escape plan and make sure everyone in your home practices it. Plan two routes of escape from every room and designate a meeting place outside of the home. Remember: get out and stay out.
  • Never leave cooking unattended; a serious fire can start in mere seconds. Don’t wear loose clothing while cooking. Keep towels and potholders away from the range. Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave your home.
  • When buying a space heater, look for the auto-off feature should the heater fall over. Keep space heaters at least three feet away from other objects. Your fireplace should have a screen large enough to catch flying sparks and rolling logs.
  • If you smoke, practice these fire-safety tips to avoid putting your life, your home and your family at risk: Don’t leave a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended, use deep ashtrays and never smoke in bed. If you feel drowsy, put it out immediately.
  • In most cases where death occurred in a residential fire, the home did not have a working smoke alarm. A sounding smoke alarm gives you with the extra seconds you need to get out of your home — alive. Install and maintain a smoke alarm on every level of your home. Replace the battery every year. It’s a simple way to help keep you and your family better protected 24-7.
  • When home fire sprinklers are used with working smoke alarms, chances of surviving a fire are greatly increased. Sprinklers are affordable – they can increase property value and lower insurance rates.
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property

On May 1, President Barack Obama issued the second consecutive Presidential Proclamation declaring May as National Building Safety Month. Building Safety Month is marked each year by more than 50,000 International Code Council members through official ceremonies, community outreach events, demonstration projects and school-based programs. Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. (AMCA) is the presenting sponsor.

“AMCA chose to become the presenting sponsor of Building Safety Month because building safety is important to AMCA members who make fans, louvers, dampers and controls that provide people with the air they need to survive,” said Wade Smith, P.E., Executive Director of AMCA International. “In the event of a fire, AMCA products pressurize and ventilate escape routes, remove deadly smoke that is far more deadly than the fire itself, and help prevent the spread of fire. Air movement and control systems also minimize power use by sensing and controlling air quality when buildings are occupied,” he added.

Learn more about Building Safety Month and download safety information, program suggestions and more at www.buildingsafetymonth.org.

About the International Code Council Foundation

The International Code Council Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote public awareness of ideas’ methods and technologies that encourage the construction of safe, durable and sustainable buildings and homes thus reducing the devastating effects of building damages due to natural disasters and other tragedies.

About AMCA International

The Air Movement and Control Association International, Inc. is a not for profit international association of the world’s manufacturers of related air system equipment — primarily, but not limited to fans, louvers, dampers, air curtains, airflow measurement stations, acoustic attenuators, and other air system components for the industrial, commercial, and residential markets.

The association’s mission is to promote the health and growth of the industries covered by its scope and the members of the association consistent with the interests of the public. AMCA International, with origins dating back to 1917, has members in most industrialized countries throughout the world.

SOURCE International Code Council Foundation

Source: PR Newswire