Edgeworth solar controls could protect emergency responders
Ordinances governing solar panels in Edgeworth Borough could provide for safer conditions of firefighters dispatched to put out a blaze.
Edgeworth Council members could vote this month to approve the new regulations.
If approved, regulations would allow for a disconnect process in the event of a fire and “also that (solar panels) be a certain distance from the edge of the roof so that the firefighters aren't potentially injured when they fight a fire and have to cut a hole in the roof for ventilation,” councilman Ivan Hofmann said.
The additions are consistent with what is being proposed on the state level, Hofmann said.
Solar panels could pose a threat to firefighters when battling a fire, according to the Massachusetts-based National Fire Protection Association.
“Today's emergency responders face unexpected challenges as new uses of alternative energy increase,” a report revised in October by the organization says.
“These renewable power sources save on the use of conventional fuels, such as petroleum and other fossil fuels, but they also introduce unfamiliar hazards that require new fire fighting strategies and procedures.”
The report details several incidents across the country since the early 1980s where solar panels were part of a dispatched fire call.
“Certain questions remain unanswered about the performance characteristics of roofs equipped with solar power systems and their ability to withstand external fire exposure.”
The report indicates there are “very few incidents of fires originating with or directly involving solar power systems. This implies that the solar power industry has a relatively good record when it comes to their equipment and components contributing to the source of ignition.”
In August, Sewickley Council members approved the addition of solar panels on a Henry Avenue home owned by Andrew and Dorothy Falk.
Some of the Falks' neighbors have spoken out against the couple's decision to install solar panels on a portion of their roof and on their garage.
Like Edgeworth, Sewickley leaders are updating ordinances for solar energy.
But Henry Avenue resident Christy Semple questioned Sewickley's process for approving the panels.
Sewickley Council President Bob Hague said the development of guidelines wouldn't have affected the Falks' application because their request was made before policy changes were considered.
Edgeworth leaders will consider changes to its ordinance at the borough's regularly scheduled monthly council meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 in the borough building, 301 Beaver Road.
Bobby Cherry is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-324-1408 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that electrocution is a leading cause of injury to firefighters.
Add Bobby Cherry to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sewickley chamber board losing 2 key members
- Sewickley nonprofit asking: What brings you to town?
- Sewickley’s Village Green Partners gain ground via social media
- Sewickley United Methodist church carnival turns 5
- Sewickley police officer finds new perspective on bike patrol
- Parking rates at Heritage Valley Sewickley to increase Monday
- Koch: Beautiful things are happening all around — just open your eyes