Legislation Introduced To Make Solar Panels Safer For Firefighters

Aiming to protect firefighters from the dangers of buildings with solar panels, Assemblyman Bob Schroeder has proposed legislation requiring buildings to clearly label whether they have solar panels and install external shut-off switches with new systems. “Solar energy is a great way to lower electricity bills and protect the environment, but solar panels on buildings pose an unintended threat to firefighters,” Schroeder, R-Bergen, said. “Safe firefighting requires knowledge and awareness of the situation and this bill will let emergency responders know when there’s a threat of electrocution because the building is actively harnessing power from the sun.”

Schroeder, a volunteer firefighter in Township of Washington since 1980 who has twice served as Fire Chief, has proposed for introduction a bill, A-4288, which would require a special emblem on buildings with solar panels as well as external shut-off switches for new solar systems.

“We can have clean reliable energy without making fires any more dangerous than they already are,” Schroeder said. “As a firefighter, I know how important it is to quickly know as much as possible about a burning structure that I might have to enter. This simple preventative measure could very well save the life of one of our brave first responders.” TLS.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Better Idea, make sure the roof can withstand the extra weight of the solar panels before they are allowed to be installed. Standards should be set for the roof before the solar panels are installed. New construction should assume Solar Panels will be installed and the roof built for them. Code enforcement should have to test existing roofs to make sure that the older roofs can handle the weight. Firefighters are smart enough to look up and see the panels on the roof.

  2. as a firefighter i agree that they should make sure the roofs are strong enough but the lableing of the buildings is a great idea. we can not always see all of the roof. add in night and smoke and well no we cant always see the panels . please lable all buildings that have panels

  3. There is a disconnect switch for a solar system. In addition, every solar installation needs to get signed off by an architect to make sure that the roof can hold the weight. Basic A,B,Cs

  4. Signage and disconnect switches are already required by the NEC and UCC. All municipalities require certifications by licensed engineers or architects for the structural integrity of the roof including the solar panels.

  5. back to number 3 , that still does not tell me if the building has solar on the roof the idea here is to have a clear marking that we cannot miss , much like a truss roof. and even when the disconnect switch is used the panels ar always charged..so know what you are talking about with your basic 1,2,3, if its so not a big deal join the fire dept and then tell me if this is basic 1,2,3 has more meaning when it can kill you.. number 4 the nec may require sign but not inforced. its lakewood we are talking about here. i have never seen a solar sign on a house or building.

  6. The signs are by the disconnect switches. It’s by every install. It’s in the same place where the regular electric comes in. If you didn’t see the signs then you don’t know where to look and some training is in order.

    The panels are only charged when sunlight is on it, it doesn’t hold a charge otherwise. So, for #2, it wouldn’t matter at night anyway.

  7. ‘The panels are only charged when sunlight is on it’

    and when there is moon light, street lights, or a firemens hand lamp, or any lighting focus on the roof. It may not be full light but enough to produce some DC voltage. Any voltage under the wrong condition is hazzardous.

  8. Brother you are so right.

    To all, Solor panels are ALWAYS CHARGED. they get energy from the moon al well as the sun, also dont forget the lights the truck shine on the roof, these panels are getting charged from those lights also.

    There might be a shut off switch BUT THE PANELS ARE ALWAYS CHARGED, not only that you cant vent, with the panels on the roof, you cant climb on them do to the fact they are charged and very slippery.

    About the code part, these roofs might me able to withstand the weight of the panels but you have just added 65lbs per panel to that roof. how long do you think that roof will hold with all that extra weight and a fire burning inside.

    These solar panels are a great idea to save money but just like truses they are a Firefighters nightmare.

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