As summer approaches, the CITY OF DOTHAN Permit and Inspections Office is urging homeowners to take the time to check outdoor areas for potential safety hazards.
Proper inspections now can help to keep you family and friends safe in the future. “All of these codes are in place for a reason,” said CITY OF DOTHAN Building Official Aslam Rana. “They are added safety measures to protect you and your guests from outdoor accidents.”
Porches can be at risk of collapsing if they are not properly constructed or if they are old.
The CITY OF DOTHAN has building codes in place that homeowners must follow when building or repairing porches.
A common safety hazard occurs when porches are nailed to buildings rather than being attached with the proper anchors or bolts.
Nails are a poor method for attaching porches to buildings because they work their way loose over time.
Other safety hazards to look for are:
• Split or rotting wood
• Wobbly handrails or guardrails
• Loose, missing or rusting anchors, nails or screws
• Missing, damaged or loose support beams and planking
• Poor end support of the porch deck, joists or girders
• Excessive movement of the porch when walked on
• Swaying or unstable porches
Building or repairing to CITY OF DOTHAN codes, which requires a building permit and an inspection, will help ensure that the porch is safe.
Grilling on or near combustible areas can be a fire hazard. It not only puts your family and visitors at risk, but, especially in condos and apartment buildings, can put your neighbors in danger as well.
The most common grilling hazards are open flames and heat generated in the grill base that can be transferred to the wood of a porch, deck or siding, causing a fire.
When grilling, follow these safety tips:
• Place the grill away from siding, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches
• Periodically remove grease or fat buildup
• Use only proper starter fluid and store the can away from heat sources
• Check propane cylinder hoses for leaks before use
• Do not move hot grills
• Dispose of charcoal properly, keeping ash containers outside and away from combustible construction
The International Fire Code 2006 prohibits the use of charcoal and gas grills and other open burning devices on combustible porches or within 10 feet of combustible construction.
There are exceptions for one- and two-family homes and where buildings and porches are protected by an automatic sprinkler system.
Because they can be attractive – and dangerous – to young children, in-ground and above-ground pools should be surrounded by a fence or other barrier.
Small, inflatable pools must also be protected. The International Residential Code 2006, Appendix “G” says that any pool with more than 24 inches of water has to have a four-foot fence or other barrier around it.
Any gates in the fence must be self-closing and self-latching.
Other things to consider when installing a pool:
• Building permit requirements
• Zoning requirements
• Electrical clearances and utility easements
• Insurance policies
“Our staff works hard every day to ensure that your homes are secure,” said Rana. “Taking some time now to make sure the outside of your home is safe will make a more enjoyable summer for everyone.”