Firehouse

JAN 2017

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For More Training & Tactics firehouse.com/training-tactics coverings, an asphalt roof shingle cov- ering gives a firefighter the best traction to walk upon. However, even an asphalt shingle roof is too dangerous when cov- ered with ice, snow, moss or leaves from a nearby tree. Peaked roof walkability There are some peaked roofs with slopes that are too steep to walk upon, regard- less of the type of shingle covering. During a pre-fire plan, firefighters should deter- mine the walkability of a roof and make recommendations. The walkability of a sloping roof can be estimated by its pitch. A pitch of "4 in 12" indicates that there are 4 units of roof rise to 12 units of rafter span. A "2 in 12" is a low pitch, while a "15 in 12" is an extremely high-pitched roof. A low-pitched roof, such as that on a ranch-type house, may be walked on, depending upon the type of shingle and the weather conditions. A medium-pitched roof (5 or 6 in 12) should have a roof ladder secured at the ridge or firefighters fastened by a safey harness. A high-pitched (slope) roof, like that of an "A" frame or an Eng- lish Tudor roof, cannot be walked on safely, even with the assistance of a roof ladder. At a high-pitch roof, a firefighter must oper- ate from an extended aerial ladder or while standing in the bucket of a tower ladder. Final points When preparing a pre-fire plan for a build- ing, firefighters should identify the type of roof design, the support system, and roof covering and walkability, while also show- ing all skylight openings. Knowledge of building construction from a pre-fire plan can greatly improve a firefighter's risk analysis when operating on a peaked roof. There are limits to a pre-fire plan if the peaked roof structure is located out- side the city limits or is very old. For example, in rural areas, outside city lim- its or zoned areas, roof construction may not conform to the local building codes, meaning roof construction could be sub- standard. Older structures with peaked roofs built before a local building code is promulgated need not conform to code requirements. These structures that are "grandfathered" into the code may also have substandard roof construction. Request information at Firehouse.com e-inquiry Additionally, firefighters should be trained to use more effective methods of window venting in place of roof venting. However, there are instances when fire- fighters must operate on peaked roofs beside venting, for example, when attempt- ing to gain access to a roof if there is a chimney fire and a hoseline is required, when wetting down a wood-shingle roof to prevent fire spread during a wildfire event and when gaining access to a roof for over- hauling a shingle fire. Regardless of the situation, ensure that fire crews are being mindful of the roof structure and unique construction elements so they operate safely and effectively. n January 2017 l Firehouse l 25

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