Here is one mans opinion.
Not too long ago, there was a bit of an arguement about training firefighters to perform the "head-first" bailout, as well as the "rope slide". I fully agree with DC John Salka, that if you don't train and create "muscle memory" for a particular evolution, you are very likely not going to succeed if and when the tactic is needed. I feel it is up to the trainers to create a safe environment to allow members the opportunity to practice these dangerous skills. Obviously, a strong system of belay lines are necessary, and trainers who are well versed in the hazards as well as safe techniques to perform the skills necessary for self-rescue.
Our job is dangerous, and we must train as closely as possible to reality, while implementing a level of safety for the personnel who's lives may depend on it someday. In my dept alone, we have done such training, and the ladder bail out has been performed at a working fire more than once already. If one life is saved!
I have also been involved in a training day where one firefighter fell from the ladder approx 15' up. The belay line was properly managed, and no harm came to the member. We must train in firefighting more than ever since the incidence of fire is less.