New Jersey solar labeling bill


Firefighters would be better protected against the dangers posed by solar panels under a bipartisan bill approved today by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. It is sponsored by Assembly Republican Bob Schroeder.

“New Jersey is one of the fastest-growing markets for solar energy and trails only California in terms of installations, but solar panels pose an unintended threat to firefighters,” Schroeder, R-Bergen and Passaic, said. “Safe firefighting requires knowledge and awareness of the situation. This bill will let emergency responders know at a glance when there’s a threat of electrocution because the building is actively harnessing power from the sun.”

The bill, A-266, would require buildings to clearly label with an exterior emblem whether they have a solar panel. The safety measure was recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, which noted buildings with solar power systems “can present a variety of significant hazards” in its report Fire Fighter Safety and Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems.


     This bill requires that an identifying emblem displaying the letters “S/P” be placed next to the main entrance of a building if solar panels are attached to the roof of that building.  Current law requires identifying emblems with truss construction display the letter “F” to signify a floor with truss construction; “R” to signify a roof with truss construction; or “F/R” to signify both a floor and roof with truss construction.  This bill requires an additional emblem with the letters “S/P” to signify “solar panels” be placed to the left of the main entrance of any structure that has solar panels affixed to its roof.

In addition, this bill requires that all existing and newly constructed buildings that have solar panels be equipped with an external shut-off switch.  The purpose of this bill is to protect the safety of firefighters who respond to an emergency call at a home that has solar panels.

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Green Maltese also offers a custom course available on labeling of buildings.

Labeling Buildings for the Fire Service:

Presentation Summary

In today’s society, everything from coffee cups to toys come with some kind of warning label to alert people of potential danger.  The question becomes: ”Why doesn’t the fire service use labeling to warn firefighters, and alter our members’ reactions when we engage in one of the world’s most dangerous situations of structural firefighting?”

This course will be thought provoking session on how we can do simple things such as labeling of buildings to prevent a firefighter LODD.  It will also exam the successful labeling ordinance from Greencastle, Indiana, as well as addresses several states’ truss labeling laws.  These ideas and examples will be reinforced by case studies and NIOSH LODD reports.

Program Overview and Pedagogical Approach

Participants will gain an understanding of inherent construction features and hazards that directly influence effective risk management and decisive strategic and tactical considerations with a focus on key construction features which will influence strategic, tactical and task level operations by fire dynamics and fire behavior.  This program examines crucial construction elements and correlates building construction performance toward combat structural fire suppression operations.

The presentation will examine the need to label buildings based on potential risk associated with different construction materials used, which influence the building’s structural stability.  It will also leave the student with knowledge of current states’ and local labeling ordinances that are designed to warn the firefighter of potential hazards.

Stay Safe

Lt. John Shafer


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