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Ventilating Steel Roof Decks

Article and photos by Gregory HavelFirefighting textbooks and magazine articles have cautioned us for decades about ventilating a roof with a corrugated or ribbed steel roof deck, which is part of the load-bearing structural system of the roof and is usually supported by steel bar joists or another type of lightweight steel truss. If we make a ventilation opening in one of these types of roof, we may discover that we are now standing on an unstable surface that will bend and collapse under our weight and drop us into the fire building below. Ventilation openings in these steel roof decks frequently result in cantilevered sheets of roof decking, which were strong enough to support our weig...

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