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Construction Concerns for Firefighters: Trusses

Article and photos by Gregory Havel Sometimes we get the impression from news stories and even from firefighting textbooks that the truss is a recent development in construction, and that the bowstring truss (photo 1) is the most hazardous in a fire. A truss is a structural component that is made up of smaller members that are arranged in triangles and connected at their intersections. Individual truss members are either in compression or in tension. Trusses are usually used to span distances that are too long for conventional beams; or, in smaller dimensions, to reduce weight and cost during construction. The structure in photo 1 was built around 1960, and used the bowstring truss so tha...

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