Arlington County is kicking off Building Safety Month with the theme, “Code Officials Keep You Safe.” Building Safety Month is a nationwide celebration and public awareness campaign. The goal of the effort is to educate the public on the process of building and maintaining safe and sustainable structures.
Fire Safety and Awareness: May 6-12
Prevent fires in your home. According to 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.
• 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 because a serious fire can start in seconds. Don’t wear loose clothing while cooking. Keep towels and pot holders away from the range. Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave your home.
• 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. If you feel drowsy, put it out immediately. Use deep ashtrays. And, never smoke in bed. Read more.
Disaster Safety and Mitigation: May 13-19
• Develop a family disaster plan that includes a list of food and water supplies needed for each member of your family and supplies for your pets. Make copies of important documents like insurance policies, the deed to your home, and other personal papers, important phone numbers and a home inventory. Create a checklist of important things to do before, during and after a disaster.
• Review your evacuation route and emergency shelter locations with your family. Options for evacuation would include staying with friends and relatives, seeking commercial lodging, or staying in a mass care facility operated by disaster relief groups in conjunction with local authorities.
• Taking shelter is critical in times of disaster. Sheltering in place is appropriate when conditions require that you seek protection in your home, place of employment, or other location where you are when disaster strikes. Read more.
Backyard and Pool Safety: May 20-26
As families move outdoors to enjoy nice weather in spring and summer, special precautions should be taken to ensure outdoor areas are safe from potential hazards. Swimming pools, barbecue grills, gardening tools and fertilizers, and lawn toys all pose risks to children and adults alike.
• Practice constant, adult supervision around any body of water, including pools and spas. Nationally, drowning is a leading cause of death to children under five.
• If you’re considering a swimming pool purchase, contact your local Building Department first to determine exactly what permits are needed and what requirements you must follow.
• Reserve a spot on a wall or fence near the pool for lifesaving devices, including a portable or mobile telephone.
• Designate the grilling area as a “No Play Zone” and keep kids and pets well away until grill equipment is completely cool.
• Check propane cylinder hoses for leaks before use. Read more.
Energy and Green Building – May 27-31
Building green means living better, smarter and healthier. Just by choosing energy-efficient building materials and supplies, homeowners can make positive changes to both inside and outside environments, creating homes that are better for you and our world.
• Use energy-efficient light bulbs, turn off lights and unplug electronics not in use.
• Install programmable thermostats.
• Change filters frequently
Green homes are also healthier homes, reducing mold, mildew and other allergens that contribute to asthma and other significant health issues. Below are tips for keeping your home dry and mold-free:
• Keep it dry: install a drain pan under the water heater; place dehumidifiers in basements and other damp areas; position downspouts away from the house; repair any water damage.
• Keep it clean: use track-off mats at all doorways; clean up dust to eliminate contaminants such as lead dust and allergens.
• Keep it ventilated: install or replace exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens (make sure they vent to the outside).
• Keep it contaminant-free: use wire shelving that doesn’t collect dust; have your home tested for radon and lead-based paint. Read more.