New York law requires informing firefighters of wood truss construction

Intent is to increase safety for first responders

February 03, 2015 |
Photo: Riisipuuro via Wikimedia Commons

New York enacted a law that could make firefighting a bit safer by mandating property owners inform government and first-responders when they build or rehabilitate a building using "truss-type" pre-engineered wood or timber.

Truss-type roofs can quickly collapse during a blaze. The wood construction fastened with glue or metal plates burns faster and loses strength quicker than solid lumber, firefighters say.

The law requires property owners to indicate on a building permit application if the truss construction method is being used. They must also affix a sign or symbol to an electrical box on the building's exterior.

Local governments must inform local fire departments, fire coordinators, and local 911 and emergency dispatchers of wood truss construction. The law takes effect on January 1, 2015, and only applies to new construction. Firefighters note that law does not address the hazards from existing truss construction.


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