Americans’ Concern on Fire Safety Raised


The images of February’s fire at a Rhode Island nightclub have heightened Americans’ concerns about fire safety, based on the results of a new national survey of 1,000 American adults commissioned by the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA).

More than six in 10 (61 percent) Americans say they are more worried about fire in public and commercial buildings because of what they’ve heard and read about recent fires. Only 28 percent say recent fires haven’t made them either more or less worried.

An overwhelming majority of Americans (85 percent) believe that stricter building codes for public and commercial buildings would improve fire safety. So, it’s not surprising that nearly half of Americans (47 percent) identified building code and fire code officials as the people most responsible for making sure buildings are constructed to prevent fires and to help save lives when fire strikes. Owners ranked second at 26 percent, followed by designers and builders.

“Recent fire tragedies have raised a very serious red flag about how well buildings are designed, constructed, operated and maintained to protect the lives of occupants,” says Gene Corley, PhD., senior vice president of Construction Technology Laboratories, and head of the team that analyzed the design implications, damage and mechanics of the collapse of the World Trade Center.

Most notably, Americans are willing to pay more for fire safety. Most Americans (79 percent) want safer, less combustible materials used in buildings, even if it means increased construction costs and higher prices passed on to consumers.

Survey results are based on responses of 1,000 adult Americans who participated in a national telephone survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation from Feb. 28 to March 3.

The NCMA, headquartered in Herndon, Va., promotes the concept of balanced design and has been a strong proponent of fire protection measures in the development and revision of building codes and standards meetings.

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