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“Manage the Damage — Preparing for Natural Disasters”
May 15, 2017

Proper planning can help prevent many “what ifs” as well as help save lives and get your business back on track quicker following a natural disaster.

“Manage the Damage — Preparing for Natural Disasters” is the theme for the International Code Council’s Building Safety Month Week Three, May 15-21, 2017.

Since it was founded by the ICC in 1980, Building Safety Month has been an annual public safety awareness campaign to help individuals, families and businesses understand what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures.

“This past year, our communities have really been tested by weather and other events, struggling to assess their cross-functional resilience,” said ICC Board President Dwayne Garriss, Georgia State Fire Marshal.

“To help address this, the ICC has participated in the formation of the Alliance for National & Community Resilience (ANCR), a collaborative, non-profit organization dedicated to creating the nation’s first whole-community resilience benchmark,” Garriss added. “ANCR and its 27 member organizations intend to give communities a quick, easy and coherent way to assess their strengths and areas for improvement to foster better community resilience.”

Also, the ICC, in cooperation with several Building Safety Month sponsors, has assembled some 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 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.
• Review your plan regularly. If you make changes that affect the information in your disaster plan, update it immediately.

Although you have little control over the occurrence of hazards in your community, mitigation efforts such as building code adoption and enforcement are the strongest strategies jurisdictions can take to protect a community against the effects of natural hazards.

Mitigation through the building codes increases occupant health and safety during a disaster, protects the local tax base, ensures continuity of essential services, and supports more rapid recovery from disasters.

The ICC’s family of codes, also known as the International Codes, cover all aspects of building construction. Make sure they are part of your emergency preparedness plans.

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