New York State Truss Placard System

New York System

New York State

New Jersey State Forms

Vermont State Truss Placard

NJ Truss Placard

NIOSH Suggested Truss Placard

Chesapeake VA Truss ID

The following represent various state or local level efforts that have been instituted to provide the fire service with identification placards for attachment to buildings constructed with truss support systems. What we don't have is a unified national standard, nor do we have these systems in all states. The political strife and lobbying backed by special interest groups and mfg. associations that DO NOT Support these types of placard systems is appalling and inexcusable. This post is to make many of you aware of the various enhacements that exist to support firefighter safety.


More from New York State.....

City of San Francisco, CA
5.05 Signage of Buildings with Wood or Lightweight Steel Truss, or Composite Wood Joist (TJI) or Roof Construction
Reference: 2007 San Francisco Fire Code Section 507.3.2

State of New Jersey TRUSS SIGNS (Truss Roof and Truss Floor Assembly Signs)
Exterior Placard NJAC 5:70 - 2.20(a)1 and 2 This attachment was provided by the New Jersey Division of Fire Safety and is referenced as Exterior Placard NJAC 5:70 - 2.20(a)1 and 2.

Truss roof signs are required by the New Jersey State Uniform Fire Code for buildings, which utilize either a floor or roof assembly consisting of truss construction. A truss sign gives early warning to fire and emergency service members that the roof and/or floor may be subject to early collapse in the event of a fire condition.

N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.20(a)1.
"The emblem shall be of a bright and reflective color, or made of reflective material. The shape of the emblem shall be an isosceles triangle and the size shall be 12 inches horizontally by 6 inches vertically. With letters of a size and color to make them conspicuous, shall be printed on the emblem, as shown in images below."

N.J.A.C. 5:70-2.20(a)2
"The emblem shall be permanently affixed to the left of the main entrance door at the height of between 4 feet and 6 feet above the ground, and shall be installed and maintained by the owner of the building".

NIOSH Suggested Truss Placard Type

This sample language is based on recommendations in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report entitled “NIOSH Alert: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Firefighters due to Truss System Failures.”
The report states: “Consider placing building construction information outside the building. Include
information about roof and floor type.

The NIOSH report also recommends as part of pre-fire planning to: Record data regarding roof and floor construction (e.g., wooden joist, wood truss, steel joist, steel truss, beam and girder, etc.) [NFPA 2003]. The sample language below provides building labeling that identifies the building’s construction type, is simple yet logical, and should allow firefighters to quickly know the building’s floor and roof construction materials, promoting better and more complete information on the fireground and increased firefighter safety.

xxx Identification of structural construction. Structural construction types shall be identified by a sign or signs, in accordance with the provisions of this section.

xxx.1 Signs. Signs shall be affixed where a building or a portion thereof is classified as Group A, B, E, F, H, I, M, R-1, R-2, R-4 or S occupancy. The owner of the building shall be responsible for the installation of the sign.
xxx.2 New buildings and buildings being added to. Signs shall be provided in newly constructed buildings and in existing buildings where an addition that extends or increases the floor area of the building. Signs shall be affixed prior to the issuance of a certificate of occupancy or a certificate of compliance.

xxx.3 Existing buildings. Signs shall be provided in existing buildings. Signs shall be affixed within ninety days of being notified in writing by the Code Enforcement Official.

xxx.4 Contents of signs. Signs shall consist of a diagram 6 inches (152.4 mm)in height and width, with a stroke width of ¼ inch (6.4 mm). The sign background shall be reflective white in color. The diagram and contents shall be reflective red in color, conforming to Pantone matching system (PMS) #187. Where a sign is directly applied to a door or sidelight, it may be a permanent non-fading sticker or decal. Signs not directly applied to doors or sidelights shall be of sturdy, non-fading, weather resistant material.

xxx.5 Identification of construction classification. Signs shall contain the roman alphanumeric designation of the construction classification of the building, in accordance with the provisions for the classification of types of construction (types I through V) of the building code. The roman numeral designating construction classification shall be 1 inch (25.4 mm) minimum in height and have a stroke width of ¼ inch (6.4 mm) minimum, and it shall be reflective white in color on a background of reflective red.

xxx.6 Identification of year of construction. Signs shall indicate the building’s year of construction or major reconstruction. The arabic numeral indicating year of construction shall be 1 inch (25.4 mm) minimum in height and have a stroke width of ¼ inch (6.4 mm) minimum, and it shall be reflective white in color on a background of reflective red.

xxx.7 Identification of structural construction types. Signs shall contain the alphabetic designations identifying the structural construction types used in the building, as follows:

"W" shall mean sawn joist/rafter construction, wood members
"I" shall mean engineered I-joist construction, wood members
"S" shall mean steel construction
"T" shall mean truss type construction
"C" shall mean concrete construction

State of Florida, Truss Placard System 2008;

The Aldridge-Benge Firefighter Safety Act. The law was named in honor of Orange County firefighters Todd Aldridge and Mark Benge, who died in 1989 after the truss roof of a gift shop collapsed. Under the new law, owners of any commercial, industrial or multi unit residential structure, have to clearly mark if their buildings have lightweight roof or floor trusses, allowing firefighters to change their tactics when working in these types of structures

633.027 Buildings with light-frame truss-type construction; notice requirements; enforcement
(1) The owner of any commercial or industrial structure, or any multiunit residential structure of three units or more, that uses light-frame truss-type construction shall mark the structure with a sign or symbol approved by the State Fire Marshal in a manner sufficient to warn persons conducting fire control and other emergency operations of the existence of light-frame truss-type construction in the structure.
(2) The State Fire Marshal shall adopt rules necessary to implement the provisions of this section, including, but not limited to:
(a) The dimensions and color of such sign or symbol.
(b) The time within which commercial, industrial, and multiunit residential structures that use light-frame truss-type construction shall be marked as required by this section.
(c) The location on each commercial, industrial, and multiunit residential structure that uses light-frame truss-type construction where such sign or symbol must be posted.
(3) The State Fire Marshal, and local fire officials in accordance with s. 633.121, shall enforce the provisions of this section. Any owner who fails to comply with the requirements of this section is subject to penalties as provided in s. 633.161.

Wheeling, Illinois Wood Truss Warning Signs
Attached is information from Wheeling, Illinois, who enacted thier own local code requriement. April 18, 1994 adopted Ordinance 2948 amending Title 14, Fire, of the Wheeling Municipal Code by adding Chapter 14.08 "Wood Truss Warning Signs"

State of Vermont
See attachment for additional Info

CITY OF CHESAPEAKE, VA TRUSS ID PROGRAM; A designated sticker is used for quick recognition of potential Collapse Dangers associated with TRUSS constructed buildings. The sticker is placed on every entry door of all commercial buildings with Truss construction.

The use of trusses in building construction presents a great danger to firefighting personnel when those structures are involved in fire conditions. By design, the truss members in floor and roof assemblies will collapse, without warning, after being exposed to heat or flame contact for a very short period of time. Because of the inherent danger firefighters must face while operating within these buildings, a Truss Identification Program (TIP) has been instituted to alert personnel of the danger prior to beginning fire suppression operations. The Truss Identification Program is intended to alert the members of the Chesapeake Fire Department with pertinent pre-plan information before firefighting forces are committed to an interior attack.

The TIP shall be an ongoing program applied to all commercial buildings inspected by the Chesapeake Fire Department.

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This is a great idea but even if we know what kind of trusses are being used, do we know how long the fire has been burning? If the fire has been burning for an unknown length of time are we really going to commit crews onto the roof or to attempt entry?
Just my two cents worth.

The intent is to help identify the construction type, thus allowing the incident commander to perform an adequate risk assessment based upon known or assumed factors. The placards provide immediate determination cues that help drive selection of the appropriate and safe strategies and tactics to be deployed. The fact that you identify a truss placed when present, defines the fact that you'll determine what to do and what not to do based upon the incident parameters. Companies seeing truss placards would normally implement conservative tactical operations- not assigning roof operations and determining what degree of interior operations are committed to-again based upon incident factors etc.
My opinion only, if we don't know how long that fire has been burning then maybe we really don't need to send a crew to the roof to vent. There are other ways to do ventilation than doing roof ventilation. That is also why size up is so important and it needs to be done through out the time of the incident. That means from the time the call comes in till the time you get back to the station. That way you know everyone came home. My feeling right now with the way buildings are being constructed is to not even put guys on the roof. This is due to the fact that like you said Dave, you may not know the amount of time that this building has been burning. But I think the placards will help. They will give us some incite to what we are dealing with as far as the possibility for a roof collapse and floor collapse. We need to consider do the risks out way the rewards. We also need to realize that if there are victims, is this a rescue or recovery. Our safety is of the utmost importance. This does not sit well with a lot of people, but that is just the facts of this business. Our safety comes before the safety of the public. If we are injured or killed then there is no one there to help the public.
Good pre-fire planning will put the construction type, truss floor and/or roof construction, and other hazards in a book or computer on the apparatus. That will lead to the construction type being identified prior to the first engine's arrival, and the placards being redundant.

I realize that it's difficult for all-volly departments to take the time and effort it takes to do the pre-fire planning. Linking to local building codes departments and legislation to ensure that "as built" plans are copied to the fire department can help overcome this.

The placards are a good idea, but they should be a secondary source of information, not the primary.
You are correct Ben and you can't always count on the placards being displayed. Unfortunately we don't always get told about a new building being constructed and so we don't always get the opportunity so do a walk through during construction. That is a good idea on the book in the engines so that we have an idea of what kind of construction we will be pulling up to....
There is no substitute for actually going out an looking at the buildings being built in your first and second due districts.
Prefire planning doesn't mean writing a "doctoral dissertation" on the building, it can be as simple as the information about the floors and roof, hydrant locations and other pertinent information put into the dispatch system or in a book on the rig.
Has anyone successfully applied for a grant to implement this system on existing buildings? I can see an initial hurdle in requiring this is the cost (though minimal)to the business owners to purchase placards. I would think a grant to the department to purchase a number of these placards, off setting the business owner costs, would help in passing the law.
Not sure of the other stuff, but the Chesapeake one was implemented after a double LODD at an Advanced Auto store fire... You also see them in the surrounding cities of Chesapeake.
I know Vermont has had this implemented for many years, (at least since 2003)

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