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  1. #1
    FH Mag/.com Contributor
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    Default FDs hope to mark truss buildings...

    Firefighters looking for warnings
    By JOHN ANASTASI
    The Intelligencer


    They don't make 'em like they used to.

    So if a house or commercial structure is built using the truss frameworks commonly found in newer construction, firefighters in Hatfield and Montgomery Township want to know.

    "The lightweight construction of many buildings in the township can cause a hazard to firefighters," said David Vasconez, chief of the Fire Department of Montgomery Township. "Due to heat and rapid extension into those trusses, they can collapse in five to 10 minutes (of catching fire), which is roughly the time we're pulling up. You could be looking at a very serious situation."

    During a fire, modern truss-style floors and roofs are more likely to give way under the weight of the firefighters.

    So members of both the Fire Department of Montgomery Township and the Hatfield Volunteer Fire Co. are hoping their towns will pass ordinances requiring the owners of those structures - mostly newer single family homes, townhouses, apartments and some smaller commercial buildings - to post warning signs.

    "I see it being a clue to (firefighters) that it's something they need to address," said Robert Kaler IV, Hatfield's fire chief. "It'd be on the front of the building, and it'd be very visible to those approaching."

    The signs would be 12-inch-by-6-inch triangles with an "R," an "F" or an "RF" inside of them. The letters would denote buildings with roof trusses, floor trusses or both.

    "Clearly you have the right to do it under health, safety and welfare," Hatfield's solicitor Kate Harper told borough council Wednesday night. "The signs are really discrete. They will not mean anything to anyone else (but the firefighters)."



    Borough manager Dave Paulsen said the signs would get up faster - hopefully by spring - if Hatfield foots the bill. The borough likely could buy and distribute all the signs it would need for about $300. Later, the borough could charge $7 to $10 for additional or replacement signs.

    Paulsen added that every unit in a truss-style development such as Towamencin Avenue's Heather Meadows would not have to have its own sign.

    "All we'd have to do is put one next to or on the sign going into Heather Meadows," Kaler agreed.

    Hatfield's proposed ordinance, which is scheduled for a March 16 vote, is based on one that Montgomery Township drafted recently but has yet to enact. Fire department officials in that town were unsure when their supervisors would be voting on it but indicated it is an important step.

    "It'll help make the firefighters safer," said Bernie Heinze, president of the Fire Department of Montgomery Township. "It will help them plan where to put their ladders and apparatus, and they'll know exactly what they are looking at."


    Hatfield and Montgomery Township are neighbors in Montgomery County, PA, outside of Philadelphia.I think this is a heck of an idea. Anyone else have any thoughts?


  2. #2
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    http://www.state.nj.us/dca/dfs/truss.pdf

    In NJ these emblems are required on all buildings regardless of age with truss floors or roof assemblies. On any new housing developments, the emblem is typically at the entrance to the neighborhood.

  3. #3
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    I assume these would be for wood truss only? Or lightweight aluminium truss also? What about open web truss (steel bar joist)?

  4. #4
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    IN NJ, it doesnt matter what type of truss (wood, steel, etc.), the emblem is required.

  5. #5
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    The Governor recently signed legislation here in NY adding something very similar to the Fire Code. All existing buildings (cepting 1 and 2 family) with wood and/or metal trusses in floor and/or roof construction get a symbol. It goes on the face of the building where the first due arrives. Anything built new gets the same thing.

  6. #6
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I think this is an excellent idea........ It would be nice if all states would do this............
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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  7. #7
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    In the township that I live in, which is about 20 minutes from Philadelphia, PA, almost all new commercial buildings required to be marked with the same type of signs like MG3610 shows. I am not sure on the residential side, but with the amount of construction going on right now, I will have to take a look.

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