Search Icon White
News Cover Image

Building Safety Month Promotes Disaster Preparedness and Effective Codes and Standards


American National Standards Are at the Core of Structural Safety

Every May, the International Code Council (ICC), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), brings together the efforts and support of its members and partners to present the ICC Foundation (ICCF) Building Safety Month. Featuring a public awareness campaign aimed at promoting broad understanding of what it takes to create safe and sustainable structures, the event reinforces the need for adoption of modern, model building codes and standards, a strong system of enforcement, and a well-trained, professional workforce to maintain the system.

Tips to Protect Your Family in the Event of a Disaster

On May 1, President Barack Obama issued the second Presidential Proclamation declaring May as Building Safety Month. Follow these recommendations from ICCF to do your part for your family:

Develop a disaster plan that includes a list of food and water needs for each family member and pets. Make copies of important documents like insurance policies, the deed to your home, important phone numbers, and a home inventory. Create a checklist of important things to do before, during, and after a disaster.

Review evacuation route and emergency shelter locations with your family. Options for evacuation may include staying with friends/relatives, seeking commercial lodging, or going to a mass care facility/shelter.

Review your plan regularly. If you make changes that affect the information in your disaster plan, update it immediately.

Week two of Building Safety Month, May 14-20, focuses on "Disaster Safety and Mitigation," and presents information and recommendations for the public on emergency evacuation, home and family protection, and other critical issues of safety and shelter during a disaster. With an eye on the devastation caused by high-wind events such as tornadoes in just the last two years, Building Safety Month is placing special emphasis on storm shelters and safe rooms this year and highlighting the standards that help assure their effectiveness.

Published jointly by the ICC and the National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA), the American National Standard (ANS) ICC 500-2008, ICC/NSSA Standard for the Design and Construction of Storm Shelters, provides minimum design and construction requirements for storm shelters and offers guidelines for community shelters and residential safe rooms. The standard consolidates previous references published by NSSA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Red Cross.

Another ANS, ICC 600-2008, Standard for Residential Construction in High-Wind Regions, specifies prescriptive methods to provide wind-resistant designs and construction details for residential buildings of masonry, concrete, wood-framed, or cold-formed steel framed construction sited in high-wind regions. It provides requirements and other details of construction for buildings sited in wind climates of 100 to 150 miles per hour (mph) in 10 mph increments.

A standard from ANSI audited designator ASTM International helps assure that building glass meets specific requirements for wind load. ASTM E1300-09A, Standard Practice for Determining Load Resistance of Glass in Buildings, describes procedures to determine the load resistance of specified glass types in buildings exposed to a uniform lateral wind, snow, or weight load of short or long duration, for a specified probability of breakage.

For more free resources, tips, and videos on protecting your home, family, and business from disasters and damage, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]