Third Week of Building Safety Month Focuses on Water

May 18, 2015
Adoption and application of codes and standards and preventive measures are key to outdoor safety

As families move outdoors to enjoy warm weather this spring and summer, precautions should be taken to ensure outdoor areas are safe from potential hazards. The adoption of current model building codes and standards developed by the International Code Council Family of Companies (ICC), a strong and efficient system of code application and a workforce of building safety professionals are keys to ensuring safety inside and outside of homes. Other measures such as installing self-closing gates for pools and spas and checking for warning signs for unsafe decks and patios can lead to an enjoyable outdoor season.

Since 1980, Building Safety Month is an annual public safety awareness campaign. The theme for week three of Building Safety Month 2015, May 18 to 24, is "Water Safe, Water Smart—Build to Code."

"As the weather warms up, so do the risks for outdoor hazards," said ICC Board of Directors President Guy Tomberlin, CBO. "Building Safety Month is the perfect time to focus on the dedicated Building Safety Professionals who are working every day to protect citizens in the built environment. Citizens can play a vital role in safety around their homes and businesses, as well, particularly around pools, spas and hot tubs and other areas where hazards could occur."

Nearly 400 pool and spa drownings occur in the U.S. each year involving children younger than 15 years old. ICC is partnering with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Pool Safely Campaign to increase visibility among Americans about pool and spa safety. Essential safety tips for pools, spas and hot tubs include adult supervision at all times, making sure all gates leading to pools and spas are securely closed when not in use, installing pool alarms, and knowing cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The International Swimming Pool and Spa Code (ISPSC), developed by ICC with the support of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals, encompasses the design, installation and inspection of aquatic facilities based on current ANSI standards technology and code provisions. In addition to regulations for drain covers and grates, outlet configurations and fittings, and vacuum release or vented systems, the ISPSC also requires barriers to entry on all outdoor residential pools and spas that effectively prevent small children from gaining unsupervised access. It is the first comprehensive swimming pool and spa code to upgrade pool safety and meet the requirements of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act.

Spring also is the time to assess landscape irrigation systems to increase water conservation. If systems were installed several years ago, or if lawn landscapes have changed with added vegetation, irrigation systems may not be operating at peak efficiency. ICC and the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers have developed ASABE/ICC 802-2014, the first ANSI standard to establish uniform testing procedures for key landscape and irrigation systems components. Contact your local building department about servicing or replacing required backflow devices.

Source: International Code Council

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