Carol Foster
3/25/2004
We're planning a new home in central NY. A volunteer firefighter told us that if we have a metal roof installed, it will greatly impede firefighting efforts in the event of a fire--that shingle roofs are much easier to ventilate. Has this been an issue that you are aware of? Thank you.
Allan Reid
Dura-Loc Roofing Systems, Inc.
3/26/2004
Most steep slope residential roof systems are typically made from light gage steel, aluminum or copper and are quite easily cut through with an axe. metal does enjoy another benefit in that tests have proven that with the lighter weight combined with its strength adds structural integrety to the roof system which helps maintain the structure from collapsing significantly longer and reduces damage while increasing life safety.
Guest User
4/10/2004
The reason the firefighter told you it was more difficult to ventilate is because GOGs or SOPs in the case of a metal roofing will call for the use of a saw with special blade. With standard shingle applications, a roof is ventilated first by using a fireaxe (which is NOT sharp, but rather dull), which will be used to remove the shingles, then the saw may be used once the shingles are removed (although some departments due to lack of equipment will use the axe exclusively). The saws generally do not have a blade installed on them that cuts metal but rather a blade that will cut wood (which is one reason the fireaxe will remove standard shingles prior to use of the saw). It takes time to do a blade change IF the department even has that equipment available to them. Many volunteer departments are rather lean on equipment compared to full career/city departments. A further consideration is the training levels of the departments and the actual call-out level (or expertise if you will) - all departments do not have budgets available for training that should be given to meet the NFPA standards for Level I, and II firefighters or higher levels for officers. Many rural departments do not have the call-out experience either that a busy city department will have. One thing that the firefighter did not mention is how much of an improvement a metal roof can be in case of blowing sparks - it will not catch fire where a standard shingle roof will - one incident that comes to mind of course being chimney fires. There is an advantage in this instance. However, a disadvantage with firefighting and metal roofs is the "slip" factor. Roof ladders MUST be used when doing for example a chimney fire. The first firefighter to step off the ladder onto a metal roof is likely to be the first one to hit the ground. These metal roofs are extremely difficult to obtain a foothold on which may make firefighting more dangerous on them. A disadvantage can be chimney clean-out if you have a metal roof. We clean ours from the basement with rods, never ever going onto the roof. It is really six of one and half a dozen of the other. Both have their advantages. I recently finished 10 years as a firefighter and 8 years as a fire service instructor. I personally have installed metal roofing on both my barn and my house. It is your choice to make. Perhaps a talk with your insurance company might give you an idea if they will reduce or increase your premiums with the metal roofing. It made no difference in ours.
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