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According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 90% of our lives are spent inside buildings.
For the nature lovers among us, that might be a shocking (and depressing) statistic.
Yet whether you enjoy spending your days indoors or not, you’ve got to recognize the importance of building safety.
There’s no better time to do it than in May - which is National Building Safety Month. Allow us to explain what this means and how you can observe this “holiday.”
How You Can Observe Building Safety Month
Sure, Building Safety Month might not be as enthralling of a holiday as, say, Christmas or Easter. However, it’s still an important event to observe. Here are some tips to help you do it the right way.
1. Address Safety Concerns
There are a few things you should do to keep everyone safe in your home or business. For one, all exits should be clear of debris and there should be handrails for all steps in and out of the building.
Those are the basics. You can go one step further. Install GFCI breakers in areas where water exists, like kitchens (something that’s required by code now, but wasn’t in the past - so upgrades might be necessary).
Put slip-resistant coverings on all of your stairs. Check your fire escapes to make sure they’re in good order. Get rid of the potholes in your parking lot. Cover all your bases.
Remember - safety first.
2. Be Prepared for the Worst
Make sure your family members (or employees) are aware of what to do in an emergency, from how to get out of the building to where to go and who to call. Regularly inspect and service all fire and sprinkler systems, fire alarms, smoke detectors, and carbon monoxide sensors.
Nobody wants to think about the worst-case scenario - but planning is essential if you want to stay safe.
3. Plan Ahead for Bad Weather
Speaking of thinking about the worst, you also need to have a plan in place for inclement weather.
But wait! It’s May! Shouldn’t we be gearing up for summer? Absolutely - but we all know how those northern winters like to linger on.
It’s smart to think about how prepared your building is for bad weather, regardless of the time of year. Do you have consistent flooring throughout the building to mitigate slips and falls? If you own a business, can you put up signage to warn people about slippery conditions when they’re tracking in snow and ice?
Do you have sufficient lighting? Are your walkways kept clear? Are there mats and runners?
All of these concerns are ones you should address long before winter arrives - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (especially if that “cure” is figuring out how to deal with an expensive liability lawsuit due to a fall at your home or business).
4. Make Sure Your Building is Up to Code
Believe it or not, there are some states that do not have enforced building codes (though most municipalities within these still do).
Here in New York, that’s not the case - we have strict building codes to make sure all structures, residential and commercial, are as safe as possible.
If you’re living in a new home or working in a relatively new office space, you’re probably all set. However, building codes do change regularly, so having an inspection done to make sure everything is up to snuff - especially if you live in an old home or work in an outdated facility - is a great idea.
5. Spread Awareness
Last but not least, May presents a great opportunity to spread awareness. Reach out to the people you know to help them understand the importance of building codes and standards. It might not be the most glamorous topic - but if it comes down to saving a life, it’s worth it, right?
Build Confidence in the Month of May
As a homeowner or business owner, you might feel like there’s not a lot you can do to address the safety of the home you live in. The home’s already built (ideally to code!) - so how can you make the building that you live or work in even safer?
Following the tips above is a great place to start, but you don't have to stop there. You’ve also got to make sure you have the right kind of insurance.
Here at Northern Insuring Agency, Inc., we’ll work with you to find a home or business insurance policy that suits your needs. Just as no two buildings are exactly alike, neither are two policies.
We’ll help you research the types of coverage you need and help you uncover the best possible rates. Our policies have some serious structural integrity!
So whether you’re building a new home or just want to update the coverage you have in your existing home or place of business, stop by Northern Insuring today. We’ll simplify the complicated…for insurance of all kinds.