Know Your Ladder Lengths/Heights!!!
We always use the scenario that in 0300 hours we need to perform like it is 1100 hours. We try to promote muscle memory but sometimes I think we tend to lack on the mind part of the memory. Firefighters perform the skill efficiently for each task but some of the decisions or selections could be tightened up. For example, selecting a 35 ft. Extension Ladder to reach a 3rd floor window on a residential structure when a 24 ft. Extension Ladder will reach and done with less manpower.
I wanted the guys that work on the Quint in my house to know ladder lengths and how high they will reach. I ended up going back to some high school geometry, Sine, Cosine and Tangent calculations. Really all I needed was the Sine of 750 and the lengths of all the ground ladders that we carry. While doing these calculations one of the guys on my group said, "This is all 'explicative' just use this method"… “Take the ‘number’ between the two numbers that make up the length and that is what story you can reach.” Example the 24 ft. Extension Ladder fully extended should reach the 3rd floor of a residential because ‘3’ is the number between 2 and 4. Same principle for the 35 ft. Extension Ladder, it should reach the 4th floor of a residential.
I know most firefighters probably think more like the latter method but some are more analytical in their thoughts so I created a chart to post in the fire house. At the firehouse I work out of, we do some informal training we like to call “Bathroom Wall Training.” Each month an article, picture, diagram, (anything really) is posted above the urinals or across the toilet in the hopes the firefighter might take a peek at the posting while doing their business.
Here is the chart in PDF
QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE FOR LADDER SELECTION
Mathematical Calculations: All calculations done for a 750
14 ft. Roof Ladder >>> 13.5 ft.
16 ft. Roof Ladder >>> 15.5 ft.
24 ft. Extension Ladder (Not Extended) = 14 ft. >>> 13.5 ft.
24 ft. Extension Ladder (Fully Extended) >>> 23 ft.
35 ft. Extension Ladder (Fully Extended) >>> 34 ft
The “Ientilucci” Method for Extension Ladders:
What is the number between the numbers between the ladder lengths?
24 ft. >>> 3 is between 2 and 4 so the 24 ft. Extension Ladder should reach a 3rd Story
35 ft. >>> 4 is between 3 and 5 so the 35 ft. Extension Ladder should reach the 4th Story