Firefighters Concerned with Metal Roofs

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So it seems that today there are many interesting topics falling on my lap to write about. I read an article in Fire Engineering about the troubles that fire fighters have or could potentially have in battling fires on structures with metal roofs. So I want 

to address this with all of you because I do see the potential problems that could arise from what the article talks about. I guess the better question is how do we make it safer for our heroes? The argument in the article about metal roofs looking like a different type of material I think are the least of our concerns. I mean I believe most people can tell the difference between a metal roof and an asphalt or shingle roof right? I do however understand the argument about metal roofs being installed over previous roofs which could present a dangerous problem. Take a look at the article by clicking here and let me know your thoughts on the subject. I believe in safety for all, but is there an actual solution for this issue?

2 thoughts on “Firefighters Concerned with Metal Roofs

  1. Jonathan Rider

    As a firefighter, I am all too familiar with the many dangers that metal roofs offer. By day, I am a strong advocate for metal roofs for the very obvious advantages they provide. However, if that building should ever burn, there are many obstacles that it creates. In the firefighting world, as a general rule, any wood structure with a metal roof (like an increasing number of homes across the US) will burn very hot and very fast. The metal roof can actually radiate the heat back down into the structure instead of venting like a traditional asphalt shingle roof would. As it mentions in the article, this venting (cutting holes in the roof) can allow the heat to escape and accommodate firefighting operations below. For structures with metal roof over metal framing, the reduction in the buildings flammability allows firefighters to work in a safer environment.
    The State of Mississippi, like many other states, has adopted legislation and building codes to safely identify buildings with truss construction. In this manner, I feel we could make strides toward providing early detection for layered roof systems, metal over open framing, and other standard construction techniques that are hazardous during firefighting operations. The combination of planning and effective communication always executes the best plan. I believe this has to be accomplished on a local level using detailed information from the roofer, the local building inspector, and other officials. If a building owner wants to be prepared, a “walk through” should be scheduled with their local fire department. This allows responders to familiarize themselves with building layout, sprinkler systems, building construction, and electrical and chemical hazards. This is usually a free service and most people will actually be surprised with the fire department’s willingness to participate and offer suggestions on how to make your building safer. If firefighters can identify these hazards early, they can better prepare and plan for an emergency and arrive equipped and ready to work without fear of unknown problems that could take precious seconds.

    Reply
  2. Caleb

    I definitely believe that there is a solution for this issue. Metal roofs and steel structure provide many benefits, especially for commercial use. There are adjustments that be made to the structure and the roof to help in improving emergency situations for those brave individuals who serve our communities.

    Reply

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