Building codes provide vital life safety protection and serve as a key to mitigating damage during natural disasters and other emergencies
Safety for First Responders and Citizens: There is no question among first responders that modern building codes help prevent the tragic loss of life during emergencies like fires, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. For instance, all national model building codes include the requirement for fire sprinklers in new one and two family homes. With sprinklers, the risk of dying in a house fire decreases by more than 80 percent and the risk property damage is reduced by 74 percent. Buildings built to code are more likely to keep inhabitants safe because they are more structurally secure. Moreover, when a building is up to code, a responder can know what to expect when he or she enters the building in relief efforts, which will increases his or her chance of getting citizens out alive.
Disaster Mitigation: Every part of our country is vulnerable to one or more potentially devastating natural hazards so improving disaster mitigation and preparedness should be a priority. Updated building codes take advantage of the most modern building science and technology to keep buildings and the people in them safe from natural disasters. For example, in Hurricane Charley the frequency of damage among houses built to the modern code was 60 percent lower than among homes that were built to older codes.
Lobbying Support: There is precedent for support of adopting new building codes by first responders. For example, in 2013, Lobbyists for fire chiefs and the insurance industry partnered to push Congress to pass legislation that would provide financial incentives to states that adopt either of the two most recent versions of the International Residential Code.
Preparation Saves Money: Investment in safer buildings that meet codes saves money over the life of the asset, especially when there is extreme weather or natural disaster. “According to a study conducted by the National Institute for Building Sciences’ Multi-hazard Mitigation Council, every dollar spent by FEMA on hazard mitigation grants reduced post-disaster relief costs by $3.65 – a savings for all taxpayers, regardless of where they live.”
Everyone deserves to be safe. You can work to ensure that your government representatives take this seriously by taking action!