Roof Operations “Read Below and give your Opinion”

What type of Saw do you prefer?When do you need a hoseline on the roof?

When do you need a Line on the roof?

Truck Company Operations vary so much based on manning and the culture of your FD. There are so many ways to vent a roof and all have there place. The questions are; What type of saw do you prefer and what are its positives and negatives? How long will your saw operate without refueling? What type of blade or chain do you prefer? Will your FD allow a K12 on a pitched roof and do you like using a K12 on pitched roofs? When do you prefer a Chain Saw? Do you like the depth gauge or no depth gauge? Do you like the sling attached or does it just get in the way? What have you found that the 30 tooth carbide blade will cut? How long will your composite blade last? What blade is left on the saw when sitting idle on the rig? How often do you run your saws?

What can the Thermal Imager do for you on the roof?


7 thoughts on “Roof Operations “Read Below and give your Opinion”

  1. Great topic for discussion Curt! In my dept we predominantly use Stihl 044’s or MS 440 chainsaws with 20″ bars with a Carbide tipped terminator Chain! ( Rapco Industries terminator chain) Pretty aggressive for todays light weight roofs. The con of this chain is if you have a dense type of sheeting ie: tongue and groove decking….the twin rakers on the chain protect the carbide, so the chain doesnt cut as well. Our Ladder Co. carries a standard carbide tip equipped saw for these instances. We use the chainsaw mostly for its reach and lightweight, and most of us in the Northwest US are used to using chainsaws! The circ saw or cut off saw isnt used as much here. In the state of Washington, there are only a few circ saws that are allowed to use a carbide tip blade for cutting, if the manufacturer has a recommendation to not use carbide blades, on their saws, then state safety laws state we must follow the manufacturers recommendation !
    As for using the thermal imaging camera on the roof, yes use it ! Sometimes you can see the the rafters and the roof layout ! This is especially helpful on commercial roofs !

    Pretty much the only time we have a hoseline on the roof is to take care of deck fires, or roof material fires. Never to be played into a ventilation hole ! The main point is to cut the hole and get off the roof expeditiously ! Another use for the line is if the companies below cant get to a hidden area of the attic or if the space has been modified during a renovation, then you might have to attack the fire from above !

    Depth guages and the like, we dont use them…..once you cut into your roof, you should have an idea of how deep you should be cutting….also you should know how far to overlap your cuts so you cut through all layers of material. I should note that chainsaws are even used in commercial roof ops here. Unless a prefire tells us we need to use circ saws.

    Slings are a personal preference with many in my dept. , generally they arent used, but we do have some available.

    As for using the K-12 on a residential roof? I have no experience using one in that application. Like I stated above, we use the chainsaws . They allow us to be more upright and not so much in an unbalanced position when cutting. Not leaning over the saw when cutting the hole.

    We carry 2 circ saws on the ladder….one with a diamond blade ( mounted inboard) and one with a composite blade ( outboard, Force Saw) The composite blades we use are Hilti Super Rail Blades, very long lasting for an abrasive, and head to head they out cut a diamond blade.

    We recently purchased a K12 Husqvarna 970 and have equipped it with a Warthog blade to handle some of the commercial roofs in our area.

    As for the running time, it depends on the saw. For commercial jobs we take a tool kit and mixed fuel can to the roof for quick access if needed, or to make quick repairs or adjustments.

    Our saws are run atleast once a week on a big rig check day, fuel is rotated out every 3months since it can become stale. Different Drivers might run the saws every shift, but its done atleast once a week.

    Wow, that is a lot of info to cover! See ya in Orlando! Sven/ Ladder 64, South King Fire & Rescue

  2. We are pretty much like Sven company. Chain saws for residential and circular for commercial. If were on a commercial flat roof we will take a hose line only for protection of the working crews, parapet fires, fire contained to only the roof, and to mop up. Generally, if we open a roof and fire comes out, it is a good thing. Open the hole, get off the roof, and put it out from below. TICs are used routinely.
    On residential attic fires. Leave the roof intact. Pull ceiling below, stick the fog nozzle (wide fog) up from below and let the steam conversion put out the fire.

  3. Our Quints carry a Stihl O34, a Stihl circular cut saw (partner saw) with black diamond blade, and a Cutters Edge chain saw with bullet chain ( All engines have the same minus the circular cut saw. We use the Cutters Edge almost exclusively on pitched roofs. Almost all of our vertical vent is done with 28 ft. ground, and two 16 ft. roof ladders. The Cutters Edge has a sling for one FF to take it up with. The other FF brings tools such as axes and pike poles. The Lt. brings his TIC. SCBA’s are required, but we rarely-if ever-would take a line to the roof to do a ventilation operation.

    Some of the old Milwaukee Style 2.5+ story houses in our city have huge attic spaces and crazy roof pitches. 20ft. roof and a 35 ft. ground are a must. In those houses my first thought is always a gable cut. MFD goes to the roof almost always (read Urban FF magazine Issue 2 or 3 where they have any article on this) on these houses. We just don’t have the manpower and setup like they do to accomplish this. I think the gable cut is a viable and often overlooked option.

  4. Good stuff! we don’t cut enough roofs on the job to have much preference however I would prefer the chain(bullet) with no guard mostly because it’s most familiar. K-12’s typically reserved for FE on commercials and commercial roofs. We run saws on Mondays but it’s up to the nozzle FF if he wants to run it daily. Sven pretty much summed it up nicely! Hoseline on the roof?…NEVER unless like Sven stated…

  5. 30 tooth carbide tip blade on a partner saw! This combination is my weapon of choice for most roof operations.

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