The story behind those red and white stickers

truss id stickerFor whatever reason we recently started noticing these stickers, like the one to the right, in the windows of strip malls around the Capital Region -- mostly in suburban areas (OK, fine... we kept noticing them while going to Five Guys). And we weren't quite sure what to make of them. Type of business? Association affiliation? A message to aliens?

So we asked around and did some research. Here's the answer...

It turns out the stickers are required by changes in New York State fire code that took effect at the end of 2004. The stickers alert firefighters that the buildings were built using "truss-type construction" -- that is, some part of the building's skeleton -- either the floor or roof -- was constructed using a series of triangles.

This type of construction is apparently very common in modern pre-fab buildings (such as strip malls). And it can also apparently be dangerous for firefighters because the structures can collapse quickly.

The stickers' Roman numerals denote the building's construction type and the letters indicate whether the roof, floor or both are constructed with trusses. So, that sticker above indicates Type II construction ("constructed of noncombustible materials") and a roof made of trusses. (Many of the stickers carry a URL that links to info about all this.)

State fire code only requires buildings constructed since 2005 to carry the stickers -- which explains why we only noticed the stickers in the newish strips of places such as Glenmont, Guilderland and Wilton.

Thanks to everyone to answered our question about these stickers on Twitter.

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