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Does you company/department routinely drill in ground ladder evolutions? Do ground ladders get thrown routinely at every incident or are they an afterthought?

Can your company quickly and safely complete a ground ladder evolution in order to rescue a trapped member or a civillian?

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We are getting better, but it has been an afterthought for too long, especially after we got a new tower ladder. Then all the focus went to that. However, our former captain is now assistant chief, and I became lieutenant as a result, and we pushed it a lot last year. I don't know about the lieutenant this year, but the new captain is busy with other matters, and has been for awhile.

I don't want to obsess about ladders, or search, or venting, or any other aspect of truck operations, they are all important in their place. But you did hit a sore point with me, it is one of the aspects of our training that I don't think we put enough attention to.
I think you raise a salient point about the focus sometimes becoming too centered upon the aerial ladder at the expense of ground laddering. We are all smart enough to realize that not all of the laddering necessary on the fireground can be accomplished with the aerial, yet we do not always assure that laddering occurs on all sides of the fire building. I think it is an area that we can all become more proficient.
Every Truck on the department throws ladders at fires. Some more than others but that just depends how busy they are or not. It is SOP for the 2nd due Truck to throw a ladder to the rear of the structure or where necessary for the members working on the roof. Also ladders get thrown to wherever the interior members are operating. I don't think it is a skill that really gets ignored here.
We do not have pre assigned duties. I think this makes throwing ladders an after thought. We never assign a crew to "Throw Ladders". Depending on who gets assigned RIT, they will put ladders up. Some stations train on ladders more than others. It is up to each station Captain how much we train on ladders. As a department we do very little with ladders.

I am a big fan of getting ladders up quickly and effeciently. We train on it frequently and I know that given the opportunity we will get em' up quick.

Ladders were becoming a lost art in our county. With pressure from aggressive officers on the scene of fires, we are seeing more and more ladders being used. My company drills with ground ladders. Not just the short ladders, but the longer ladders as well (35, 40 and 45).
To be a well rounded Truck Company you must be well versed in all aspects of truck ops. You must be prepared to do the other truck companies work as well. I am not trying to sound arrogant, but the job must be done to ensure the safety of the firefighters fighting the fire.
When I am Acting Truck Captain, I try to ensure that at least one and preferbly two ladders are in position anytime we are operating above the ground floor. With a 3 man Truck company and a 10 man response, it doesn't always get done as soon as I'd like. One in place, I radio their location to command so that all know where they are.
When I teach Truck Company Ops, I tell my students this is the area where we need to be proficient. If the interior personnel make a mistake, no one may see. If you make a mistake throwing a ladder, it is on the front page of the local paper for all to see. :-)
Your comment about your teaching strategy with respect to impressing upon your students the importance of not only throwing ground ladders, but throwing them correctly is a good one- clearly it works because it's a strong motivational tool as no one likes to be the subject of ridicule. I mean is there anything worse than seeing a photograph, or even worse, a video of a poorly executed ground ladder throw that we may have had something to do with?

I find in my own department that company to company, and sometimes even group to group, the emphasis on achieving proficiency in theis area varies. It's a great starting off point for a discussion around the kitchen table about why we need to drill to stay sharp in this area.

It's also good to hear out here that others recognize the importance of practicing with all ground ladders, and not merely with the 24', 28', and 35'. The confidence gained through practice really works to limit the effect Murphy's Law can have on our evolutions on the fireground when it really matters.

Be Safe,

Unfortunately, we run 3 men on our Ladder truck, but sometimes we are lucky to have the two guys on the Ambulance assist us on the fireground. If we go mutual aid to a fire, the two guys get on the piece and we are a 5 man ladder co. Most times we arent capable to throw ground ladders unless we cannot use the aerial. So we dont get to place them up for additional egress if needed.
Scott, your comment raises an interesting point in that you mention the manpower situation maintained while your truck company operates within your city limits, as well as how your community is willing to satff the piece when it responds mutual aid. This is a discussion that has been raised many times around the kitchen table in my station. My company, a quint incidentally, is the designated mutual aid truck on my job, and we are lucky to be 1-3 at all times, and are frequently put to work right away when we arrive on-scene because we are, comparatively speaking, well manned.

Be Safe,

Sounds like you have a good truck company. We also do not have an officer on our truck. We run 3 Engines and 1 Ladder and 1 Ambulance. We have 3 Lt's on duty 1 at each house on the Engine. We do not have Capt's in our ranks. Another thing we go after the City for, but to no avail, we dont have it.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that although we have it better than most, we still do have our satffing issues which hamper our fireground efficiency.

My company, the quint, enjoys its manpower not because of a recognition by leadership that we need the additional personnel, but rather through collective bargaining; specifically a side letter of agreement to our contract which dictates the personnel assigned due to the multi-faceted design of the apparatus which was purchased.

Our two (2) additional truck companies run 1-2, and either 0-3 or 1-2 , depending on-duty strength. We have over the last two (2) years plus have only had our heavy rescue in service approximately twenty percent (20%) of the time (also on-duty staff dependent) and usually running with a spare engine for an apparatus until recently.

I can relate entirely to your situation. We all seem to be doing more with less.

Be Safe,

In order to maintain proficiency I take my truck to throw aluminum on any Saturday we work.


Spend about an hour throwing with all the crew, all the ladders, multiple carries and raises (throws). I look at it from three angles: Ladder proficiency, teamwork, and exercise.


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