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I am a new Truckie. I have been assigned to an engine for my entire career now I am on a truck. 2008 sutphen tower.

Anyway I have been training my little heart out learning all of the new equipment and I have come across a little issue.

My Sgt (driver) and LT Company officer cannot tell me about a roof ladder on a pitched metal roof. (I must say that training is not a major concern in my department).

This is my ideas if anyone has any suggestions or better ideas PLEASE let me know!

Set the hooks by using a flat head axe or sledge. Place the hooks after driving the horn of the hallagon in the roof, and or driving the horn in and using it as a chock for the ladder!

I understand using the tower but due to over head lines and poor engine companies we have a hard time getting proper ladder placement!

Just being honest and I want to make all of the real truckies proud!

Shawn Roark from Bristol Va.

And thanks to my little brother BSR on the job in South Bend IN for the info about this site!

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I believe a few (maybe more than a few) years ago the Ohio state fire marshal published an article on this matter realted to training tower metal roofs. They had had some ladders slide off the rooof and deermined that unlike with asphalt shingles, there is little to no friction that keeps the beams in place. As for how to secure them, I do nto recall any suggestions.

Your idea will work as long as you are able to straddle the peak of the roof. But I would think the hooks in a roofer would 'bite' on the metal peak. However, thats just a little portion of the operation. What are you using to cut the roof? Remember that the fire compartment needs ventilation when the percentage of the fire involvement reaches 25% or more of the square footage of the fire room. And thats with using NFA. If you can close up the room or limit ventilation and you know that life safety is not an issue, use IOWA. Just remember that ventilation is neccessary but the type of ventilation is up to you. A good truckie knows what type of ventilation is apropriate for the situation at hand. .

Good luck,

Thanks for the info! I to remember the article from OSU and That is why I was throwing a few ideas out there! My department uses PPV so much and the sad thing is they don't even use it correctly most of the time! I am thankful for folks that have the same passion for the job as we do!

Be safe

I own a ladder testing company that focuses exclusively on ground ladders. We have a device (patent pending) that is designed to stabilize roof ladders on low-friction roof surfaces, without interfering with the ladder's ability to perform as designed. Or, you could try attaching a large piece of rubber around the rails of the roof ladder near the heel end. Our product provides more stability by comparison, but rubber could give you at least a little friction against a metal roof.

Good luck!

North Texas Ladder Techs

I have a Powerpoint on metal roofs and ventialting them if you want I can email you a copy of it. just send me your email address and I'll be more than glad to help you out. Hopefully it will answer some of your questions on metal roofs, it also covers combustible metal roof decks. Send me your email address to
Thanks for the info

maybe one day I can repay the favor!!
My thought on this issue is why are you trying to vent a pitched metal roof? I am a traditional northeast firefighter and vertical ventilation is very popular but I would think twice about putting personnel on a metal roof. Your Lieu and Sgt may not be providing you too much info because they would not perform that type of operation.

If you have to vent the roof and you have a platform aerial I would do everything possible to work off the bucket. Knock off scuttle hatches with a pike, take out sky lights, or some other natural covered opening. I would not put people on a metal roof with an active fire under you.

If the situation is that critical then vent for life and take out as many horizontal windows as the fire, water supply, and personnel will allow.

Stay low, stay safe!
Since this topic is up, lets clearify a few things? are we questioning rather to vent a metal pitched roof on a commerical or residential building? what are the concerns vs. a normal pitched roof on either type of building? I know that a popular new trend is to replace an old residential roof with a metal roof, so I am sure this can be informative to us all.

maybe this should be a whole new topic?

Thanks for adding this photo. My district has many houses with metal roofs, added on top of the shingle roof.

We don't like to see people on lightweight metal construction. Due to the collapse factor. I agree, if you need to vent use the platform. As for the picture, the metal construction is placed over the OSB. You should be able to use the roof ladder there without slipping due the gravitational pull as well as the angle, but horizontal vent might be the best route depending on fire conditions.
The roof in the photo is an example of the roof system I was refering to earlier. These roofs are framed the same as ordinary residential roofs (which could be truss or dimensional lumber). Clips nail the panels underneath the vertical seams. If such a roof is seen on a pole barn, suspect trusses underneath and skip sheathing or furring strips support the panels.


Alert: Ladders Slip Off Metal Roofs
Jun 18, 2004 10:55 AM

On May 15, two firefighters were seriously injured in Wyoming, Ohio, after falling 30-feet from a roof ladder while participating in a ventilation drill. According to Chief Robert Rielage of Wyoming Fire-EMS, the ladder’s hooks slipped from the metal roof cap while being used on the metal roof of the Colerain Township (Ohio) Fire Training facility. The metal roof system of the training facility was very similar in design to roof systems being used in commercial and residential applications. Chief Rielage and Chief G. Bruce Smith of the Colerain Township Fire Department caution all fire service agencies to evaluate the use of roof ladders for their ability to remain affixed on metal roofs, especially, but not limited to, those designed for commercial use.

A longer article with much more detail is located at
Thanks Drew... I believe this was the fear that my brother had when starting this topic. Im not a truckie so I had no advice, and I have yet to respond to a fire in this type of residential building, however i have seen them going up in my city. Thanks again for the documentation.
I am interested in knowing if anyone has actually vented this type of roof on a residential structure?

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