I suppose we all have pet peeves. As anal as I am, I have more than my share. One of them is what is shown in the photo above. Now, to be fair, no water is flowing (yet) and I am sure that the men and women of the Pawtucket fire department are among the best in the country. But - what's the firefighter doing at the tip of the aerial?
In my opinion, he or she is in one of the most dangerous positions a firefighter can put themselves in - and for what?
* What almost 100% certainty, What ever is burning will not be put out. It will burn itself out.
* The structure is lost. Destroyed!
* Exposed buildings and other "stuff" needs to be protected. Aerials are good for this to be sure.
* Here is a brief list of the bad things that can happen to the person on the aerial:
1) The aerial truss assembly can fail and collapse with the firefighter still on it.
2) The fire below can rapidly intensify or otherwise explode (looks like an industrial site) exposing
the firefighter to direct flame impingement.
3) The driver/operator at the turntable can accidently hit a lever and injure the firefighter.
4) The aerial jack(s) can fail, causing the aerial to tilt and possibly fall.
5) If throwing water, there can be a sudden surge in water pressure, causing the tip to whip.
6) The firefighter can slip/fall (I know we are supposed to wear a belt when we are up there but......)
There are six bad things right off the top of my head that can happen that could hurt or kill a firefighter. I am sure there are more.
What are the advantages to having a firefighter up there?
* We can hit already destroyed "stuff" better.
* We can cover an exposure better (don't know what we can't see that from a safer location though).
* It looks "cool".
In Toledo, we had a policy that a firefighter can not be on the tip of a straight stick aerial "when water is flowing", and only for limited times otherwise. These simply is no reason to be up there.
A few final thoughts.
* I'm not talking about buckets or tower ladders - just straight sticks.
* If you have to send someone up there, have them do what needs to be done and then come down.
* It's simply not worth the risk.
What do you think??