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New Germantown Ordinance Could Save Firefighter Lives

CBS 58— A new ordinance in Germantown is aimed at saving firefighter lives.

The new rules require buildings with lightweight roofs and floors, which are more prone to collapse, to post signs. It’s a requirement for commercial, industrial and three or more unit buildings.

“I am confident that this, these markings, is gonna save firefighter lives,” said Germantown Fire Chief Gary Weiss.

Weiss says firefighters will still enter buildings, do rescues and follow normal procedure, but they’ll know they have to do it quicker. Weiss says firefighters are taught they have about 20 minutes inside before the structure becomes unstable, but not if it's a lightweight truss roof.

“We're looking at less than 10 minutes,” Weiss said. “So when they arrive and see this sign, it tells them that they don't have a lot of time inside the building.”

The fire department pays for the signs which cost about $12 each. Buildings receive the signs as the fire department does inspections. So far 70 Germantown buildings have them. The ordinance requires the signs to be posted in the same spot, at the same height by the front door so firefighters know exactly where to look

“What this is gonna do is it's gonna give my firefighters better situational awareness when they arrive on the scene,” Weiss said.

Weiss as far as he knows, they are the first and only department in Wisconsin using the signs, but he hopes they're not the last.

?“I would love to see this adopted statewide,” Weiss said.

The ordinance passed the village board unanimously in August.

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