Florida’s Aldridge-Benge Firefighter Safety Act of 2008 Becomes Law

The Aldridge-Benge Firefighter Safety Act unanimously passed the Florida House and Senate during the 2008 legislative session and has been finalized after three public hearings in 2008 and 2009. It became law on December 13, 2009.
The act requires the owners of commercial, industrial, and multi-unit residential buildings (three or more units) in Florida to be marked with an emblem to warn firefighters of the use of lightweight floor and roof trusses, which are prone to early collapse under fire conditions. The act was named in the memory of two Orange County (FL) firefighters who were killed in the collapse of a gift shop that was constructed of such components.
The bill that created the act was co-sponsored by Rep. Galvano and Rep. Gibson in the Florida House, and Sen. Wise in the Florida Senate and was supported by the Florida Fire Chief’s Association. The bill was the result of a grassroots email that was sent to the local Florida representatives and senators from the Manatee/Sarasota area in August of 2007, after a fire at a sofa store in Charleston, South Carolina, killed nine firefighters, in part because of the collapse of a lightweight roof truss assembly.

Buildings with such lightweight trusses must be marked to the left of the main entrance with an 8″ red reflective emblem indicating if the building has lightweight (wood or steel) roof, floor or roof and floor trusses. Fire crews could then revise their firefighting strategies and tactics if the fire is found to be involving these truss assemblies. Below is an example of the emblem for a lightweight roof truss.

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