Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Leveraging Building Intelligence for an Initial Response and Beyond

Issue 1 and Volume 167.

BY JACK J. MURPHY Since the late 1980s, the national fire service has been forewarned about lightweight construction, yet only two states1 have adopted legislation to identify lightweight truss construction with a building placarding system. Today, even these warning signs are outdated. There are newer lightweight structural members, such as cold-formed steel and wooden laminated I-beams, and other construction features that also pose potential risk to firefighters. Other dangerous innovations include green buildings with vegetative and solar panel roofs; the exterior finish insulation system building shell, which can cause an outside fire to create internal fire conditions that can quickly overwhelm a building; and prefabricated one- and two-family homes in which a flammable adhesive is used to secure gypsum board to the wall studs so that the fastenings will not pop dents in the board during transportation to the job site. Massachusetts and other states have witnessed how quickly a…

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