In honor of Building Safety Month, our Director of Building and Safety, Kevin McOsker, shares why he believes building safety professionals are the “Silent Defenders of Public Safety.”
For the vast majority of people, the term Public Safety typically implies first responders — police, fire fighters, and emergency medical technicians — who respond to immediate dangerous or critical health situations for the benefit of the public. They are almost always in uniform proudly displaying their pride of service to the communities they serve. These agents of Public Safety have earned our respect for the service they provide to our communities.
However, there is another group of agents of Public Safety that perform critical life, safety, health, and welfare protection that typically go unnoticed. I call them the “Silent Defenders of Public Safety;” they are the team of building safety professionals who review plans, issue permits and perform inspections on new construction. They are “silent defenders” because they are rarely seen by the public or noticed by the community. They are agents of Public Safety as they ensure that the buildings we live, work, and play in are safe from hazards attributed to the built-environment.
Most of the public takes building safety for granted. They occupy buildings with no thought of the safety measures in the building to ensure that they are protected. They rarely see fire resistive construction, fire sprinklers, egress components, structural systems, electrical safety, plumbing fixtures and mechanical systems that make buildings safe, sustainable and healthy. Building codes save lives, but the codes rarely get recognized for the safety they provide nor does the team that ensures these systems are adequate for their intended purpose and installed pursuant to the required regulations. Since most occupants of a building are not involved in the design or construction process, they rarely think about the building professionals who are looking out for our safety long after the construction team left the site.
May is Building Safety Month, a public awareness campaign recognized by jurisdictions throughout the country; in Nevada, Governor Brian Sandoval has even proclaimed May as Building Safety Month. This month is an opportunity to recognize and support those individuals who ensure safe construction and buildings, not only in Nevada; but in the entire country.