In our October article, we provided some advance highlights of our plans for National Forest Products Week. This month, I want to recap the events of the week’s Timber Innovation Day and also share that there is a second important week in October for the wood products industry and its trade associations – National Fire Prevention Week. The American Wood Council uses both of these annual events to help educate about important safety measures and to share exciting innovations happening in the industry. Here’s what we did this year…
Unsung Heroes of Fire Prevention Highlighted
National Fire Prevention Week started in 1922 and is observed every year during the week in which October 9 falls. The date commemorates the Great Chicago Fire, but Fire Prevention Week is more about using the opportunity to reinforce proper fire prevention and fire safety among both the young and older.
This year’s theme was “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape,” paying tribute to the brave men and women of the fire service who work around the clock to keep us safe from fires. During the week, AWC used quotes from our Construction Fire Safety Coalition members, former International Code Council Vice President of Fire Service Activities Rob Neale, and others that were converted into graphics that depict the importance of fire safety practices during construction. These were then distributed across Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn using the hashtag #FirePreventionWeek. AWC also produced a construction site “hot work” one-pager, urging safety when doing hot work on construction sites, which you can download online.
Inaugural Timber Innovation Day Held During Forest Products Week
The third week in October is National Forest Products Week, during which the federal government and forest products industry pay tribute to all the benefits of forest products. In fact, this year’s Presidential Proclamation referenced passage of the Timber Innovation Act in the Farm Bill, noting that the legislation, “also promotes using America’s forest materials, like cross-laminated timber — a strong, resilient product — as an innovative approach to constructing tall wooden buildings.”
AWC worked with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to designate Tuesday of that week as Timber Innovation Day. That day, AWC and USFS co-hosted a congressional briefing in the Dirksen Senate Office Building to discuss advances in wood building products. Speakers included Senators Angus King (I-ME) and Jim Risch (R-ID), Congressman Bruce Westerman (R-AR), Forest Service Chief Vicki Christiansen, Russ Vaagen of Vaagen Timbers, and Dr. Steve Shaler from the University of Maine. The event was attended by approximately 120 congressional and forest service staff, designers, students, and others.
In order to recognize the many champions of wood products, AWC also distributed personally-engraved cross-laminated timber blocks to co-sponsors of the Timber Innovation Act and others who have helped expand wood use. The blocks were generously donated by D.R. Johnson Wood Innovations.
Overall, October was a busy, yet important, month for the wood products industry. Product and worksite safety are paramount to AWC, and we are proud to have recognized the heroes of fire safety and prevention. We were also glad to join the U.S. Forest Service during National Forest Products Week and Timber Innovation Day to showcase all the advancements in forest products and celebrate all their benefits.