You mean the engine carries ladders?

Ok. I didn’t believe it either.  Height stricken nozzlenuts carry ladders too!  Most of the time they are under used and much lighter and less cumbersome.  Depending on the situation, the engine’s ladders can make a quick pick from a 2nd or 3rd floor.   The way the ladders are carried on the rig can make a huge difference!  Ladder racks have become popular over the years.  However, they can be unbelievably SLOW.  Some are a little faster but in my experience, not by much!  In the following pictures we timed a side mounted 24ft ladder removal and throw, to that of a rack mounted ladder.   The times were different by 34 seconds!!!  The extra time was complements of the rack!  Side mounted ladders both the 14ft roof to the 2nd floor and a 24ft extention to the 3rd floor, were placed in 42 seconds.   That can be considerable when your the one in the window!  The more mechanical operation involved, the more failure or malfunction can occur.  Along with extra room needed to lower the rack.   I fully understand that there are times when the rack is a must.  For example many rescue engine bodies don’t permit side mounted ladders. 

The engine pulls up to see a 3 story apartment building with fire from two windows on the 3rd floor.  The next window down has thick black smoke pushing out the top with someone looking for the ground!  Trapped behind the fire in the bedroom.  The street is tight with cars stacked on both sides!  Can’t drop the rack!  How do we? Who? Me ?  You have to make the decision quickly to jump up on top of the rig and roll that 24 ft ladder off the back.  So that it can be grabbed and used to do what we hopefully do best!  Its great if we know the truck is in our house or arriving as we do.  We all know that’s not the case all the time.  Many might not see a truck at all!  Many engines may not be carrying a 24ft extension ladder.  Places that do not have a truck company often carry a 3 section 28 or 35ft ladder.  While they are extremely heavy and somewhat hard to remove from the rig.  That gives you two more reasons to drill and be more acclimated to your options.   Be prepared for the unexpected, know your rig, have a game plan and anticipate Change.  It might be you in that window someday!

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4 Responses

  1. Great point Danny.

    I believe it was 2005 when my volunteer department responded to a apartment fire in Lanham, Maryland with heavy fire conditions on the 2nd floor of a 3 story garden apartment. A civilian victim was trapped on the 3rd floor balcony directly above the fire with no ladder company available yet.

    DFC Mick McKenzie recognized the situation and quickly obtained a 24′ ground ladder and the 14′ roof ladder from a nearby engine company. He used the 24′ to reach the 2nd floor balcony. Using the hooks on the roof ladder, he hooked the roof ladder onto the 3rd floor balcony (pompier style) and effected the rescue.

    Your post just made me think of that story… Remember to think out of the box!

  2. This can be seen on the vid on 33’s website. RIP Mick. Another idea that alot of jurisdictions are going to is carrying the extension ladder on the outside of the rack with the roof ladder on the inside. May not seem like much of a big deal, but those few seconds it takes to remove the roof ladder to get to the extension ladder may be the few seconds that were needed at 3am in January. Also, don’t forget to mark the balance point on the ladders making them easier to carry.

  3. Carrying the 24′ on the outside of the 14′ is becoming more common! Good Point! The engine company that I currently work on practices that concept with the same belief that you stated above! Every second counts!

  4. With the increase is size of homes in your area and NFPA reducing the total feet required for ground ladder requirements. Not that you have to listen to NFPA you could alway’s exceed the NFPA requirement. But if for some reason your limited in the storage of ground ladders on your ladder truck, don’t for get about the 24 from the engine. I have preached to my driver to consider this ladder in his size up to free up a 28 or 35 that might be needed else where Just a thought

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