Residential Rolldown Security Shutters

These are fairly unique on residential homes in this part of the country, but we have noticed a few popping up in our still district. I would imagine these are much more popular in the coastal parts of the country where they protect homes from hurricane damage.

 After running an alarm in this house we were able to take a closer look at how they are setup and installed. The reason we are seeing them out here is for security reasons. The elderly lady that owns this house informed us that she has been robbed a total of 12 times over the years. She lives in this home on a fairly busy street in an area where break-ins are not uncommon. I got the feeling that she has lived here for a very long time, probably before the neighborhood had started to decline. To secure herself this is what she came up with.

The pictures below let you see the roll down aluminum security shutters and the window security bars. What you cannot see by these pictures is that every window on her house, including the second floor have this security added to them. Not to mention the razor wire that has been installed on her fence that surrounds the backside of the house. Take a closer look:

The frames are installed as the top plate for the windows on the interior of the bars. However in the next pictures you can see that the metal framing for the shutters is more to the exterior of the building. Underneath you will find more window bars that are concealed behind the shutters.

These just add a curve ball into the standard ways we would perform horizontal ventilation, not to mention the work load that is added for the outside truck crew.  It also creates a great deal of egress issues. A few questions to think about.

How will this effect locating the fire from the outside? How long would it take a crew to remove, especially on the second floor?  Call an extra truck company?  Effects on smoke and fire behavior?

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5 Comments on “Residential Rolldown Security Shutters”

  1. Truck4 Says:

    I am glad that this particular set up was posted here. I actually came across this set up a couple years ago while on Brush Patrol in the Broadmoor Bluffs area in Engine Co. 16 district. I also got an excellent chance to look at this product and was able to take pictures as well, if I come across them I will post them. There are several styles that are made but this and the composite are most popular. I was told by the owner of the company in town that custom build them that the composite style can take a baseball sized piece of hail at 40 mph and protect the window behind it. She also mentioned that installation is nothing more than lightweight screws mounted to the framing around the window to hold up the track. And, for obvious reasons, slightly heavier mounting hardware to hold up the motor and door assembly. This is obvious as it is mounted to the out side of the structure, but I was told that it is also becomming popular to mount them on the inside, specially in cases where HOA rules apply.

    My thoughts:
    aggressive work with a set of irons should remove the track from the structure and a tad more work should remove the motor and door storage box as well, keeping in mind you may be on a ladder so look out below. I also think that if you make one quick zip across the top of the door with a saw prior to removing the track it will keep the door safe with enough tension to cut freeing it from the motor. Then pry off one side and use the door as leverage to pry off the other side. You should walk away with one large section of door. The irons should work well, but if more leverage is needed the the outside vent team should have a 6′ roof hook. This set of tools should efficently take care of this set up.

  2. bv Says:

    Looks our force entry guy needs to build another prop for the station.

  3. JG Says:

    Seems like we have a stumper! Or maybe everyone is just busy with Christmas.

    I certainly do not have any answers with this one! It would be nice to take a few of these apart to be the difficulty in forcing entry

    None the less, I offer a few thoughts, questions, and concerns.

    I agree with Truck4, more truckies will be needed!

    A basement fire will be similar to one of those old basement fires in a windowless basement, smoke and heat will be venting via the stairs, it will be hot getting down the stairs and we will have to believe that it will be cooler once we get to the basement floor. Smoke extractor from the basement, then horizontal ventilation through front or back door.

    Main floor fire will be our regular steak and potatoes fire with the exception of venting via front or back door. This will require that forcing both doors be a priority and be done quickly. Another requirement will be a quick aggressive fire attack (with the door open, fire should follow path of least resistance).

    An upper floor fire will be interesting! Vertically venting a room and content fire in the upper floor may be the fastest way to remove heat and smoke. Again quick fire attack is essential along with quick access to the rest of the attic space! This will undoubtedly be criticized by many for causing more damage than needed. But how much more fire and smoke damage would there have been waiting for the removal of the upper floor window covering?

    As for the removal of the coverings, I would start with irons then saw work. As always, communicate with the interior crews and let them know that ventilation will be delayed. Other than that, I will let you know when/if we ever get to work on them!!

    Just a few thoughts to prime the conversation pump.

    Be safe!

  4. RR E8T Says:

    To add on a couple thoughts. Before saw work started or while I was waiting for one I would attack the frames with a halligan (get a feel for their craftsmanship) If I am not making progress, and they truly are installed and anchored well then I may move to a saw. I don’t think we are going to have a problem removing these with saws, just time consuming. One thing to think about, If we were attacking these shutters and our saw of choice was running a carbide tip blade, we need to remember we could have some high quality steel bars underneath where a metal abrasive disc is a more appropriate choice.
    Just my opinions,
    Thanks
    Ryan

  5. Anon Says:

    Ahh, the elusive extra trucks. Every FD in this area seems to be short on ladder trucks and the Chiefs seem to want to leave them in the barn anyway. How many times do we hear or read “Extra Truck”? Seems to me that we need to start working on getting more Ladder Truck Companies into service in this area. The nationally accepted standard (per ISO?) is 2 Ladder Trucks for every 3 Engines. Do the math and we obviously need more ladder trucks, especially given the geography. In my humble opinion anytime a PD is reenforced, an extra truck above the RIT truck should be an automatic call. What about putting the RIT truck to work on the outside and using the third/additional truck as the RIT?


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