Light Weight Truss Construction in Mobile Homesby Training 38

What type of buildings do you think of when lightweight truss construction is brought up in a class, article or discussion? Most people would think of Commercial, Industrial and possibly Multi-family dwellings? Do we put into that category single and double wide mobile homes? No, we don’t. Light weight construction exists in more residential homes than we would like to admit. Light weight truss as we all know is dangerous and takes a backseat in the thought process of building construction in the rural communities. Unfortunately if you have mobile homes in your district you have lightweight truss construction.  Most mobile homes use a 2 x type construction in the roof truss system. Older mobile homes have aluminum wiring, poorly maintained flues or chimneys. The wiring can either run through the void space in the ceiling or in-between the frame rails beneath the floor. The poorly maintained flues or chimneys have a direct path into the void space above the ceiling which can allow for rapid fire spread through the length of the home and can cause for a lot of pike pole action, pulling a lot of ceilings and attempting to get ahead of the fire. Take heed of this type of construction and the associated dangers that come with it. We need to take this as a serious threat. We need to pay attention to the age, size of the mobile home. We need to analyze the fire conditions upon arrival and understand the construction of the mobile home. The older models of mobile homes are easy to identify. Most of these homes have the kitchens on one end and bedrooms on the other end. Newer homes, have bedrooms on either end with the kitchen and living room towards the center. Pay attention to the windows and the locations. Pay attention to the color of the mobile homes. Most older mobile homes are brown or beige with newer ones being white in color. This isn’t always a definite, but it works most of the time. Why does this play a factor, you might ask. Older mobile homes use paneling on the interior walls and lack sheet rock. This will allow for rapid fire spread and cause multiple room and contents fires. Newer mobile homes have sheet rock through out the interior and will help to compartmentalize the fire. Fire spreads into the void space at the ceiling level and can cause for an unstable roof truss system. This is due to the paneling and access for the fire to move into the void space and travel the length of the mobile home. Newer models still can have fire get into the void space. How many times though do we actually get a stop on the newer models? More than people think. Just because you have a mobile home in your first due area, doesn’t mean that it is going to burn to the ground. So please next time pay attention to the roof line, pay attention to the light weight truss construction and let’s have everyone come home.

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