Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rooftop Solar Panels Pose Risks to Firefighters

Rooftop solar panels are known to save money on energy bills, however, along with these increasingly popular rooftop additions comes a risk to firefighters. A report from Boston FOX25 news station discussed how rooftop solar panels can be hazardous to firefighters responding to a fire. While Boston FOX25 news says solar panels are not likely the cause of a fire, they can make firefighting a challenge, as they hold 200 to 600 V of electricity any time there is any kind of light on them; the chances that they actually power off are slim. Powered solar panels could possibly electrocute a firefighter, and additionally, the panels themselves (powered or not) add weight to a roof and can cause slip, trip and fall hazards to firefighters.

One helpful action a homeowner or business owner can take in the event of a fire is to inform the fire department and other emergency responders that there are solar panels on the roof. The report even suggests not waiting until a fire happens to tell your local fire department that you have them. This can start a conversation about necessary training and preparation needed by all those who could be affected during a fire response.