FDIC International, Firefighting, Truck Company

Truck Company Operations: Boston’s Ladder Culture

Issue 3 and Volume 168.

By Shawn Donovan Why does the Boston (MA) Fire Department (BFD) throw so many ladders? Mainly because the fire department has discovered that it’s better to have them and not need them. The bigger answer has a lot more to do with the history of the city and how it grew. If you ask around BFD, you will get three common answers. After initially responding, “Why would you even ask that question?” members will respond as follows: “We need to!”; “Why not? It’s a good practice!”; and “The engine companies can be more aggressive because they know ladders will be in place.” We Need To The first answer, “We need to,” is not obvious if you have never been to Boston. The city’s layout does not lend itself to positioning aerials wherever we want them. The roads are essentially paved cow paths that meandered around the terrain, which featured public…

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