When you enter a house or other building, most likely you're not thinking about whether it is properly constructed and safe. Fortunately, your local safety experts think about building safety and fire prevention every day. To help raise awareness of building safety, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Department of Public Safety is celebrating Building Safety Month during May. Across the nation, communities will promote the use and understanding of building safety and fire prevention codes to protect lives and property.
"The important work we do is often overlooked until a catastrophe occurs." "When building safety and fire prevention experts inspect buildings during and after construction, we help to ensure that the places where you live, learn, work and play are safe" reminds Thomas G. Gatzunis, Department of Public Safety Commissioner.
Building safety and fire prevention codes address all aspects of construction, such as structural soundness of buildings, reliability of fire prevention and suppression systems, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency and sustainability. To ensure buildings are safe requires the active participation of building safety and fire prevention officials, architects, builders, engineers, and others in the construction industry, as well as property owners.
"Public safety is our number one concern," said Commissioner Gatzunis. "During Building Safety Month and all year long, building safety and fire prevention officials are here to help protect you and your community throughout the commonwealth.
The world will celebrate Building Safety Month during the entire month of May 2010. The theme is "Building Safety: Commemorating a 30-year Legacy of Leadership." The Department of Public Safety is participating this year.
Building Safety Week was first observed in 1980. Now Building Safety Month 2010 will highlight four areas during the month:
- Energy and Green Building;
- Disaster Safety and Mitigation;
- Fire Safety and Awareness; and
- Backyard Safety .
The goal is to raise public awareness of critical safety issues such as the structural soundness of buildings, reliability of fire prevention and suppression systems, plumbing and mechanical systems, and energy efficiency and sustainability. These issues affect every person, regardless of age or occupation.
A new state-of-the-art research facility, called the Health & Wellness Center is currently under construction at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. The project will provide new lab space for research in the fields of processing, additives and preservation involving chemistry, microbiology and biology. Inspectors, plan reviewers and others in the Department of Public Safety work to ensure the safety of this new university building and all structures in which our citizens live, work, attend school, worship and play. These officials provide the first line of defense against building disasters. They are silent but vigilant guardians who work daily to ensure safety in the built environment. Municipal building officials provide the same service for privately owned buildings and structures.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a member of the International Code Council ( ICC). Educational materials are available for schools and the community at large through the ICC @ ICCsafe.org. Brochures about flood cleanup, mold prevention, green building and preparing for natural disasters may help children and other concerns citizens understand the importance of public safety initiatives in the built environment. The public is encouraged to participate and learn more about the essential safety work of the Department of Public Safety and Building Safety Week by visiting our website at mass.gov/dps.
His Excellency Governor Deval L. Patrick