Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

I'm curious about your experience or knowledge of allowing outriggers to set up on sidewalks. Need vs. owners manual? SOP's, experience, insight, concerns. We have allowed it when needed though knowing it might not be ideal. One has to consider in older towns/cities, the possiblities of basedments extending out under the side walks, and subsequently dropping an outrigger through the sidewalk or even worse - tipping over the apparatus.
any thougths?

Views: 850

Replies to This Discussion

Based on the attached photo, I would have moved the apparatus so that it was off center of the street toward the driver side. This would allow me to short jack the driver side while allowing full operational use on the officer side. Or if the incident was on the opposite side, I would short jack the officer side to work off the fully extended driver side. I much prefer to have the outriggers firmly placed on solid ground(pavement) than on a sidewalk. I don't know what is underneath or if the concrete was properly cured and would withstand the loading.
I know that some depts don't like to short jack, but with the alarm and safety systems installed on newer apparatus there should not be any reason to move the aerial unit in a dangerous position. I know on our apparatus, there are two different audible alarms and lockouts that have to be intentionally over ridden to get the unit to go onto the short jacked side.
I think anytime you are going to operate out of the norm you need to ask yourself why and then have a good answer. Based on the first comment which has a lot of good points and the two photos my questions to myself do I need to do this for reach? Does another company need to be able to get by? What's under the sidewalk (where is the closest sewer cover-hopefull not inline with the outrigger or in the curb)? Are there overhead wires above the walk? And I could go on. Of couse you'll have a whopping 10 second (if you're lucky) to ask and answer these question. Based on the photo, the outriggers seem to be centered on each square of the sidewak so as to serve as big pads (vesus at the edge of the square). However, is this new construction (I see construction fence)? The answer is not simple. Training in set up, lots of it at every opportunity, is the key to good decision making. WIth any less-than-testbook set up, the danger comes when the ladder approaches the 90-degrees off the side point with any extension. Watch your load indicator and alarms. Go slowly and be prepared to retract.
As a practice I do not want my engineer to place jacks out on anything but firm paved roads. When my ladder is set up it is only looking for "Firm on Ground" not the grounds load capacity dispersed on its four 4'x4' ground pads (This is why I like having its 10 tires to still be touching the ground, taking the bulge out, it gives that extra weight distribution). Here in the midwest we never know the condition of the ground under the sidewalks due to extremes in temperatures from winter to summer. Roads here are a different animal they have a good base of concrete and a thin layer of blacktop. Sidewalks here may have a host of utilities under them and in the event you are working off that side the utility pipe could collapse under the added weight of the truck. I am fortunate we have assigned engineers and some of the things I harp on is that he knows the ladder, its capabilities and most of all its limitations. Pre-planning roads is good but as we all know every type of construction has some short cuts to save money and like Tim said has it been properly cured.
As for short j****** for my crew its the absolute last thing I will do. I do thank you for brining the subject up because we do not have a SOP on ladder placement when it pertains to this topic.


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service