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Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors. Firefighter Life Safety Resource Kit. Make Everyday a Training Day…So that Everyone Goes Home. c. 2008 NFFF. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors. Overview Engineered Wood I-Beams Case Studies of LODD (NIOSH) Pre-incident Identification

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Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors


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    1. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors FirefighterLife Safety Resource Kit Make Everyday a Training Day…So that Everyone Goes Home c. 2008 NFFF

    2. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Overview • Engineered Wood I-Beams • Case Studies of LODD (NIOSH) • Pre-incident Identification • Hazards & Risks (Risk/Benefit) • Operational Decision Making • Review

    3. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Engineered Wood I-Beams • Structural components comprising of top and bottom flanges, which may be solid or laminated wood, united with a plywood or Oriented Strand Board (OSB) web of various depths.

    4. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Engineered Wood I-Beams • Primarily used for floor systems but can be found in some roof applications • Manufactured up to 60’ in length • Cross section resembles the shape of a steel I beam

    5. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Engineered Wood I-Beams • First developed in 1969 • Cost and performance drove the development • Designed to provide “open” floor spaces • Once only considered for “high-end” residential markets

    6. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Engineered Wood I-Beams • Used in nearly 50% of today's residential construction • Rising cost of lumber makes the wood I-beam affordable • Ease of installation reduces labor cost.

    7. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Engineered Wood I-Beams • The collapse potential of engineered wood I-beams exposed to fire presents an extreme danger to fire fighters.

    8. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Case Studies of LODD (NIOSH) www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200707.html www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200626.html www.cdc.gov/niosh/fire/reports/face200624.html

    9. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors On August 13, 2006, a 55-year old male career firefighter died after falling through the floor at a residential structure fire.

    10. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors On June 25, 2006, a 34-year-old male volunteer Deputy Fire Chief died after falling through a failed section of floor in a residential structure fire

    11. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors On January 26, 2007, a 24-year-old male volunteer fire fighter died at a residential structure fire after falling through the floor which was supported by engineered wooden I-beams

    12. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Pre-incident Identification • New Construction • Nearly ½ of new construction • All residential construction after 1990 is suspect to some type of truss floor system • “I”-Beam • Parallel Cord • Open web bar joist

    13. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Pre-incident Identification • Fire Departments should inspect new construction to identify floor construction types. • The presence of truss construction and engineered wood I-beams should be recorded. • Computer Aided Dispatch Systems should include information to alert responding personnel.

    14. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Pre-incident Identification Fire Departments should work with State and Local Building Code authorities to require markings to indicate the presence of light weight and/or truss construction.

    15. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Hazards & Risks (Risk/Benefit) • Engineered wood I-beams burn rapidly due to a very high surface-to-mass ratio characteristic of kindling.

    16. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Hazards & Risks (Risk/Benefit) • Adhesive may fail in heat

    17. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Hazards & Risks (Risk/Benefit) • Structural integrity can be compromised by improper cutting or “notching” of structural members during construction. • Greater spans then conventional solid sawn construction

    18. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Risk/Benefit • Fire fighters will take significant risk to save a known life • Fire fighters will take a calculated risk, and provide for additional safety, to save valuable property or reduce the potential for civilian and firefighter injuries • Firefighters will take no risk to their safety to save what is already lost

    19. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Risk/Benefit • Tactics based on sawn (solid) joist floors will kill fire fighters if used on buildings with truss floors” Brannigan – Building Construction for the Fire Service – 3rd edition

    20. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Operational Decision Making • No reliable time limit exists for how long fire fighters should operate under or on truss floors or engineered wood “I” beams that are exposed to fire.

    21. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Operational Decision Making • “three scenarios can occur ……. while operating at fires involving truss roof or floor systems” [Dunn, 1992} • fire fighters may fall into the fire as the sheathing or the truss system collapses below them. • the trusses may collapse onto them. • the floor or roof may collapse and cause a secondary wall collapse.

    22. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Operational Decision Making • Firefighters should not be on top or underneath structural components that are burning. • When it is determined that the building’s trusses have been exposed to fire, any fire fighters operating under or above them should be immediately evacuated

    23. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Operational Decision Making • A thermal imaging camera (TIC) can be a useful tool for initial size up and for locating the seat of or extent of a fire.

    24. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors • Operational Decision Making • Basement fires pose significant risks to firefighters and can be considered a “common dominator” for FF death and injuries

    25. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors “Tactics based on sawn (solid) joist floors will kill fire fighters if used on buildings with truss floors” Brannigan – Building Construction for the Fire Service – 3rd edition

    26. Dangers of Engineered Wood “I”-Beam Floors Review • Engineered Wood I-Beams • Case Studies of LODD (NIOSH) • Pre-incident Identification • Hazards & Risks (Risk/Benefit) • Operational Decision Making