Reporting has been slow, especially about the fact that Alaska took it upon themselves to ensure strict adherence to the International Building Code, to shore up and protect the citizens and residents of Alaska.
There is considerable, continuing discussion across my industry about building codes and life safety codes because the locksmith and door industry perform integral acts in installation of doors and lock systems that can have telling effects on all our lives.
The International Building Code has been agreed upon by an international coalition of countries as a minimum standard by which all people on the planet can benefit from the safety concerns of our leaders. If you care to notice, the quantity of natural disasters appears to be on the increase in recent years, though this may also be due to better reporting by the mainstream news outlets too.
An article I read yesterday peaked my curiosity and leads me to write this post.
The article (in the source below) is by ABC News and tells about how the strict adherence to some of the highest standards of the International Building Code in Alaska, actually made a huge difference in protecting the residents and citizens who choose to live in that beautiful state.
The article tells that the magnitude 7.0 earthquake was one of the largest recorded in state history since the devastating 1964 quake that caused monumental losses of life and properties.
And that the primary reason there was little damage (comparatively), this time around was because Alaska adopted strict building code policies, some superior to the agreed minimum standards set forth by the agreed International Building Code.
The article quotes the current Alaskan Governor Bill Walker, "Building codes mean something". Gov. Walker himself was very thankful for the building codes, saying that sometimes people, including himself, gripe about stringent building codes but he's really glad they are in place because he only had minor water damage in his own home.
Further distressing was the after-shock that occurred within minutes of the initial 7.0. The 5.7 after-shock itself is also considered very substantial. There have been 550 plus after shocks since with at least 11 measuring 4.5 or greater.
The locksmith industry is often in the drivers seat of adherence to life safety codes and International Building Code adoptions. A great many consumers desire to install some products that just do not comply with the minimum standards set forth by the code, in attempt to increase their perception of security for their homes and work places. We often are asked to install double-cylinder deadbolt locks to residents primary entrance doors, for which we refuse every time. We always advise our clients and potential clients that life safety ALWAYS exceeds security, We only recommend single-cylinder deadbolts be installed to primary entrances (like the main front door and main back door).
I will often quote a story I remember from the late 1980's, when I lived and worked in California. There was an instance where a burglar had broken into a home that actually had double-cylinder locks installed on their doors. The burglar had pulled some shingles from the roof and jumped in through the ceiling. Unfortunately an electrical fire started while the burglar was inside and he was killed in the fire while the house was burned down. Now, many people might think that he received his come-uppence and bad luck for him. But the investigators proved that the reason the burglar perished was due to the installation of double cylinder deadbolt locks that prevented him from easily escaping the burning building. Authorities proceeded to charge and convict the homeowner and the technician and company that installed the locks with manslaughter. The courts threw the book at these people and each convicted person received the maximum sentence available to the court of 25 years incarceration and $250,000 fine each. To top it off, the insurance company refused to compensate the homeowners for the loss of their property because "Ignorance is no defense" and to continue to insure them for clearly violating the law might have supposedly put the insurance company as an accessory after the fact.
So, not only were the company who provided the locks found guilty and incarcerated, but the specific technician too, the homeowner and the homeowners family was refused compensation by the insurance company. I later heard that the burglars next of kin also sued in civil court for loss of income, but i am not sure about that outcome.
This example, reiterates why, as a locksmith professional it is vital and important that we stay apprised of changes and modifications to the International Building Code and any modifications that separate local and state governments might apply in local regions. The health, welfare and life safety can depend on our being compliant with the codes written deliberately to protect us.