Upon the arrival of your ladder company to a residential wood frame structure fire, with fire showing on the second floor. Does your ladder company ladder one window on each side of the structure or do you ladder every window on every side?
In the first dept. I worked for our Truck Company tried to ladder 1 side automatically and then a second side if staffing permitted. (we ran a 5 man truck back then). We would not always go to a window, but would use a porch roof to give us access to 2, 3, or more windows on that side. The other dept I worked for runs 3 man trucks so you are lucky if you get 1 ladder. But you should ALWAYS try to get at least one up and if you can get 2 that's great. I am now in a volunteer dept. with a ladder truck and we are working on trying to throw at least one ladder on two story structures. Our only issue is that we don't have regular personnel assigned as "truckies". By the way I'm talking ground ladders not aerial ladders.
When I am the Acting Captain on our Truck Company, I have my crews ladder at least one side of the structure if we are operating above the first floor. We run a 3 man company which gives me one for Forcible Entry and one for laddering while I am performing an initial 360 size up. I train my personnel to be able to place a 24 ft extension ladder solo. We then get ready for vent as soon as the attack team calls for it.
On our company, when we arrive on the firegound we have designated tool/job assignments. One of the assignments of the D/O (Driver/Operator) is to throw a "means of egress" anytime that the structure has two stories or more. Since most of our structures are multi-level, this is a frequent task for us. The Ladder company will split into and "outside team" and an "inside team". The outside team takes care of ventilation, window/roof acces, and ladder egress, and utilities. Notice the order of these in importance. With one ladder on our residential responses we have to prioritize are objectives based on our size up. If Vertical Ventilation is not conducted, at least one ladder will be thrown to the window deemed best and most accessable from the interior based on current conditions - Intererio companies might have to dive into a room, shut the door, and exit the window.
The D/O on the first in attack Engine co. also will throw a one man 28' extension ladder once he gets his hoseline water and establishes that he has a water supply or the 2nd due Engine is taking care of it (most common). This gets us at least a couple of ladders up to the floors above. We do this even with nothing showing or AFA's (Automatic Fire Alarms).
This is written into our procedures and for both Engine and Ladder co. operations, though it leaves the freedom to what side and location to the D/O's throwing them based on their size up and communication to interior companies. Once complete, the ladder/s locations is communicated to interior companies as well at the Incident Commander.
It is the opinion of most of the fellas that I work with, that we should have a ladder thrown to every window sill on the box.....not very possible with one Ladder co. and staffing (3/4). For us other than what I mentioned above, it all falls back to fireground priorites beyond getting the couple up there.
Chad, That was the answer I was looking for, when possible ladder every second story opening. This will help when a firefighter needs to remove himself from the second story to not picking a window that is not laddered. Todd McKee
We try to throw at least one ladder to the second floor for means of egress. We run three man truck companies, two interior and driver exterior. The drivers other duties include outside ventilation, utilities, lighting (interior and exterior) other duties as needed, including aerial operation and master stream setup. On my company we always try to throw at least one ladder for egress at minimum and also notify the interior crew where that ladder is.
My company would ladder the most exposed side first. Depending of the intensity of the fire we would ladder the building to VES the most surivable rooms. I.E. if the fire was fully involved in the front bedroom on the 1-2 corner the ladder would be placed on the 4-1 or the 1-4 corner to access the adjoining room to search . the next ladder would be placed at the next heaviest exposed area which we will say is the middle bedroom on the 2 side. hope this helps you out -john
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