Challenges for Firefighters ON/IN “Green” Buildings

The day has come and will present itself more often in the future that we will be dealing with issues pertaining to “Green” buildings.  I was on a conference call today and the subject was brought up about “green” construction and codes.  The comment was made, and correctly so in my opinion, that most fire service personnel are not interested in “Green” codes and their develpment.

I believe this statement to be true and alarming.  At the same time, we must do a better job of getting the information out to the fire service leaders about why this type of construction is of concern.  We have to make knowing about the hazards and designs of these systems a priority just like we have done with engineered lumber.

We have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve on this issue and there is still time to catch the train before it completely pulls out of the station.  Although the process has started in developing the International Green Construction Codes, we still have time to get fire service leaders interested and involved in commenting and contributing to these codes and future revisions.   In the coming weeks I am going to present to you, the reader, different issues that will affect us as fire service responders and commanders in “Green” buildings.  My hope is that we can bring an awareness that I believe and have witnessed to be lacking in many realms of the fire service community.

So, take a look at the picture and try to list as many hazards and problems tactically in regards to the roof.  Do some research and learn about these.  How do we get on and stay on the roof safely?  How do we de-energize these roofs?  How do we safely vent these roofs and what hazards do they pose for our people?  I will admit that I am no expert, but I am learning more and more everyday and I will try to pass on what I am learning.  Until next time, stay safe and be interested.

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