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For Immediate Release: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Montgomery County Council today proclaimed May as Building Safety Month.

Building Safety Month celebrates the 2017 theme “Code Officials – Partners in Community Safety and Economic Growth.”  These are not idle words. This past December, an avoidable tragedy occurred in Oakland, California when the Ghost Ship warehouse caught fire and 36 people died.  Noted architect and writer Roger Lewis wrote that “the 36 deaths in the Dec. 2 (2016) Ghost Ship warehouse fire ..., are a grim reminder of why cities need not only effective building codes but also diligent building-codes enforcement.

“Building Safety Month is a reminder of the importance of ensuring that commercial facilities and homes are constructed with high quality code enforcement to keep everyone safe,” said Leggett. “Our code enforcement officials in the Departments of Permitting Services, Community and Housing Affairs, Fire and Rescue Services and others play a critical role every day to ensure our buildings are built to ensure a safe working or living environment.”

“It’s easy to take for granted the safety of our buildings and homes until we see a tragic story about a deck collapse or a devastating fire like the warehouse club in the Bay area. But building safety is no accident; our inspectors and planners work hard to ensure that there are exits and stairwells to safely get residents out of buildings and that those buildings are built in a manner that is structurally sound,” said Councilmember Marc Elrich who is Chairman of the Public Safety Committee.  “They inspect fire protection systems to contain fires, and conduct emergency inspections of damaged buildings like the Flower Branch apartments to make sure it’s safe for our first responders and investigators to enter those structures. This month we take the time to thank them for their work, and increase awareness about why it is so important.”

The Department of Permitting Services is offering Free Home Deck Inspections throughout May - – call 311 or 240-777-0311 to schedule.  The Department also invites everyone to the Design for Life Showcase on May 13 at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  to meet building professionals who are building and designing homes accessible for all ages and stages of life.  Bring your family and discover home accessible to all! DPS has major role increasing the stock of existing and new residences usable by people of diverse abilities.

Diane Schwartz Jones, director of Permitting Services, commented, “In the wake of California’s tragic fire and loss of life, we remind everyone that we want you to enjoy your homes, your businesses, your shopping, dining and leisure, and your places of worship knowing that where you are is structurally sound, with proper ventilation and air quality, safe electrical installations, and, in the unlikely event of a fire or catastrophe, that you can safely get out of harm’s way.  That is the entire reason for building codes.     While our hearts go out to those lost in the Ghost Ship warehouse and other tragedies, we take this opportunity in Building Safety Month, to remind you of our mutual partnership to work together to avoid such catastrophes through building permits and inspections.” 

For more information about the special events or to schedule a free deck inspection call 311 or 240-777-0311. For information about Permitting Services contact Jessica Fusillo at 240-777-6272.

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Release ID: 17-439
Media Contact: Judy Stiles 240-777-6507