Arlington County is kicking off Building Safety Month with the theme “Building Safety: Maximizing Resilience, Minimizing Risks.” Building Safety Month is a nationwide celebration and public awareness campaign to educate the public on the process of building and maintaining safe and sustainable structures. Learn more about Arlington’s “Building Safety by the Numbers” here.
Keeping Fire in its Place: May 5-11
Prevent fires in your home by paying special attention to smoke alarms, escape plans, child fire safety, older adult fire safety (cooking and heating) and careless smoking, the top five fire-safety topics identified with home fire deaths, according to the United States Fire Association (USFA). Some additional steps to take include:
• Create an escape plan and make sure everyone in your home practices it. Children under the age of 5 are twice as likely to die in a homefire. 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.
• The number-one cause of preventable home fire deaths is smoking. If you smoke, don’t leave a burning cigarette, cigar or pipe unattended. If you feel drowsy, put it out immediately. Use deep ashtrays. Never smoke in bed.
• Get more fire safety tips on space heaters, smoke alarms and more.
Helping Homeowners Weather the Storm: May 12-18
Making sure your family is prepared for any natural disaster is important and can ensure your resiliency from Mother Nature. Take these steps to prepare your family and protect your home from natural disasters:
• 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 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.
• Get more preparation tips on earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and more.
Surround Your Building with Safety: May 19-25
As you move outdoors to enjoy nice weather in spring and summer, take special precautions to keep outdoor areas safe. 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.
• Use a cover for the pool when it is not in use.
• 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.
• Get more tips on backyard safety.
Building a Brighter, More Efficient Tomorrow
Building green means living better, smarter and healthier. 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.
• If you are building new, consider the best position on the lot for trapping light and energy, and make use of energy-efficient foundation, framing, plumbing, wiring and HVAC systems now available.
• Get more tips on energy efficiency and keeping your home dry and mold-free.