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Governor signs law mandating truss-style construction alerts

Property owners will have to alert local building departments that a new or renovated home is to be constructed in the truss style that experts say is particularly vulnerable to fire.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed a law Wednesday mandating the practice, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

"This legislation will help ensure that our firefighters and emergency personal are made aware of potentially dangerous situations before it's too late," Cuomo said in a news release.

Property owners outside New York City must report structures that involve truss-, pre-engineered wood-, or timber construction on a building permit application, and they must affix a symbol signaling the truss construction on an electric meter box outside the building.

Local governments must notify relevant first responders, such as fire departments, of the truss construction.

Fires earlier this year in North Hills and Albertson involved truss construction and gave the effort a renewed push, officials have said.

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, truss systems are structural boards, timbers, or steel bars that are joined, often triangularly, in a rigid framework. When a floor truss system and fire-damaged roof collapse, firefighters can be injured or killed, the organization says.

"This legislation will save first responders' lives . . . " Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) said in the news release. "On Long Island there have been a number of incidences where firefighters were almost killed while responding to a residential fire in a home where truss construction was utilized."

State Sen. Jack M. Martins (R-Mineola), the senate sponsor of the legislation, described the new law in the news release as "an invaluable tool that will help save firefighters' lives. Giving firefighters as much information as possible at a fire helps them fight that fire in the safest and most effective way possible."

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