Engineered Floor I-Joists and Firefigher Safety: Basic Insights

The following videos provide some Basic insights on Engineered Floor I-Joists and Firefighter Safety. The first two video reports are a few years old, but provide some good visual and narrative insights into the current building construction trends, operational limitations and fireground tactical safety considerations.  

Take the time to review these video clips and gain some new insights or refresh and reinforce your past knowledge of engineered floor systems, assemblies and tactical safety considerations. References and links to mission critical reports, studies and incidents is provided for your to expand your knowledge and skill base; for every rank and level of operations from firefighter, company or command officer.  




Some insights on Engineered I-Joist construction and uses from a manufacture’s perspective….  


Some insights on a newer type of I-Joist Hanger System interated into an Insulated concrete formwork system (ICF)

Cut-outs in I Joists for HVAC runs

If you’ve been paying attention to the latest news and on the job reports the past two month, you should have noticed there’s been an adverse emerging trend evident in near miss, close-calls resulting in maydays, RIT deployments and self-rescue resulting from floor compromise and floor collapse.I previously posted some research and links related to the first one or two events on Buildingsonfire on Facebook  HERE, It became evident that there was an immediate opportunity to get some learning’s and insights out. 

If you have a chance head over to Facebook and link into Buildingsonfire and check out the incident links posted as well as some immediate report links from the December/January time frameIn the meantime here are some links I pulled together that you should take the time to read and share with your companies, personnel and staff…..Take the time to have a ten minute drill on these events as Operating Expeeince (OE) on floor systems and operational safety with your company, station or department.Take a look at your current SOP and SOG’s and determine if you have the right “stuff” in place to provide operational guidance and direction based upon your organization’s operational profile and capabilites.Is your training up to speed on size-up, risk profiling and command and compay level operations for conducting work at buildings and occupancies with actual or suspected engineered floor systems?Reference Links for Operational Insights and Operating Experience (OE)

Here’s some screen shots from Buildingsonfire on Facebook. Go HERE or follow the link at the left column. Join the growing list of 3700 fans with Buildingsonfire on Facebook and   


UL Testing


UL Fire Academy CBT  

  • UL Structural Stability of Engineered Lumber in Fire Conditions
  • This two-hour presentation summarizes a research study on the hazards posed to firefighters by the use of lightweight construction and engineered lumber in floor and roof designs. This free on-line computer based presentation will allow fire professionals to better interpret fire hazards and assess risk for life safety of building occupants and firefighters.
  • This online firefighter training course is the result of a research partnership among UL, the Chicago Fire Department, IAFC, and Michigan State University, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This self-guided course, which focuses on the structural stability of engineered lumber under fire conditions, is targeted toward the 1.1 million fire service personnel in the United States and Canada. The knowledge developed and shared in this course is critically important to firefighter and civilian safety.
  • This two-hour presentation summarizes a research study on the hazards posed to firefighters by the use of lightweight construction and engineered lumber in floor and roof designs. This free on-line computer based presentation will allow fire professionals to better interpret fire hazards and assess risk for life safety of building occupants and firefighters.
  • Program Objectives:
  • Provide brief history of events leading up to DHS Grant tests
  • Identify the fire test hypothesis, parameters, and steps completed in the testing process
  • Compare tests results (legacy vs. modern construction)
  • Communicate learnings from our partners representing the fire service
  • Discuss code recommendations
  • UL University on-line Program HERE

Here’s a link to a past informative posting related to engineered systems and their relationship to firefighter safety and operations, HERE. There’s some great contributed information and manufacturer “insights” on the subject engineered wood I-joists and beams and firefighter safety. There are some interesting statistical extrapolations, correlations and conveniences’ that attempt to make the case. But then again, You be the judge. Take at look at the presentation developed by the American Forest and Paper Association, HERE and HERE.  

If you haven’t done so yet, don’t forget to check out the free online training program on Structural Stability of Engineered Lumber in Fire Conditions at the UL University developed and provided by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL),  HERE   

Here’s an additional series of other important Reference Links that provide some insights on operational safety, incident conditions and factors ;   

  • NIOSH Publication No. 2009-114: Preventing Deaths and Injuries of Fire Fighters Working Above Fire-Damaged Floors HERE
  • NIOSH Publication No. 2005-132: Preventing Injuries and Deaths of Fire Fighters Due to Truss System Failures HERE
  • NFPA Report on Light Weight Construction, HERE
  • Informative USFA Coffee Break series postings related to Building Types & Fire Resistance:  HERE. HEREHERE, HERE, and HERE
  • Remember, Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety (Bk-F2S) and the Command Institute


Coming Spring 2011

We’re finishing up with the content development and working on the supportive case studies and interactive group activities for an exciting new one day seminar program on that will address the leading issues, studies and reports specific to engineered floor and roof systems, incorporating the lastest UL and NIST test data and insights with cutting edge methodolgies and practices for firefighting operations.  

  • Engineered Structural Systems & Fireground Operations will be available for training bookings commencing in May 2011. Contact us for a new brochure and program details.

In addition, look for a new updated 2011 Training Seminar brochure to download with a series of revised training seminars incorporating the newest operational insights  

  • Building Construction for the Command & Company Officer
  • Building Construction and Tactical Operations
  • Tactical Operations and the New Rules of Combat Fire Engagement
  • Dynamic Risk Assessment of Occupancies for Operational Safety
  • Reading the Building: Predictive Profiling Predictive Occupancy Profiling

1 Trackback

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

background image Blogger Img

Chris Naum

Welcome to The authoratative and informational site that provides leading insights on fire service issues related to Building Construction, Command Risk Management and Firefighter Safety.

Mission Critical

banner ad

banner ad

FirefighterNetCast on Blog Talk Radio

Listen to internet radio with FirefighterNetCast on Blog Talk Radio

The Tombs

The New Safety Formula: Bk = F2S

Without understanding the building-occupancy relationships and integrating; construction, occupancies, fire dynamics and fire behavior, risk, analysis, the art and science of firefighting, safety conscious work environment concepts and effective and well-informed incident command management, company level supervision and task level competencies…You are derelict and negligent and "not "everyone may be going home". Our current generation of buildings, construction and occupancies are not as predictable as past conventional construction; risk assessment, strategies and tactics must change to address these new rules of structural fire engagement. There is a need to gain the building construction knowledge and insights and to change and adjust operating profiles in order to safe guard companies, personnel and team compositions. It's all about understanding the building-occupancy relationships and the art and science of firefighting, Building Knowledge = Firefighter Safety (Bk=F2S)

Addressing Today’s Evolving Fireground

Lectures,Seminars and Training Programs

banner ad

Taking it to the Streets Radio

  • banner ad
  • The Newest radio show on FireFighter at Blogtalk Radio… Taking it to the Streets with Christopher Naum. On the Air Monthly on Firefighter A Series and Firefighter Production. Advancing Firefighter Safety and Operational Integrity for the Fire Service through provocative insights and dynamic discussions dedicated to the Art and Science of Firefighting and the Traditions of the Fire Service.

QR Code for