Fire/emergency medical services State laws Injury prevention

Law aims to protect NY firefighters from wood truss collapses

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Albany, NY – Legislation recently passed in New York state is intended to protect firefighters and other first responders from collapses of residential structures that feature wood truss construction.

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) on Sept. 17 signed the legislation, which requires property owners and local governments to inform first responders about buildings that feature truss-type, pre-engineered wood or timber construction. The law is scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Truss construction is safe for normal use but may collapse with little or no warning during a fire, according to fire officials who praised the new law. First responders are not able to differentiate between construction types when responding to a fire, so the legislation requires such information to be provided on building permit applications as well as on a signs or symbols affixed to an electrical box on the building’s exterior.

“Determining the type of building construction in quick fashion dictates how we operate at a fire, so any advantage we are provided is welcomed,” Robert McConville, president of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York, said in a press release.