“Portable ladders want to be used at fires. They want to get out of their ladder racks and be used, see the light of day, be near the heat and smoke, and help you do your job more quickly and easily. They live to be thrown against residential building fires. It makes them happy. They love to be carried or dragged into place by one firefighter. They want to be placed at the level of the residential windowsill for best overall operations.” Chapter 22, Page 269
As professionals on the fireground every firefighter, and fire officer, must find that fine line between what is taught when you are indoctrinated into the fire service and what is the reality with your staffing, the building, and the fire. Many times you will not have 4 people to execute a ladder throw, it will be you, and you alone. The reason we place ladders are for us, and nothing makes a firefighter happier who makes that perilous decision to jump out a window that a properly placed ladder is there for them. There is one placement for ladders at fires and that is at the sill so we can enter and exit with a measure of ease.
When we place ladders we must communicate the task is done so members in harms way know they are placed. We must be vigilant not to use the ladder as a ventilation device without understanding what is occurring inside the fire. Unnecessarily taking a window and changing the reaction of the fire to influx of air without extinguishment makes you a liability on the fireground, not an asset. Show your ladders some love today and drill on throwing them correctly and you can expect success on the fireground.