Drill of the Week: Ground Ladder Placement

Portable ground ladders are among the most effective and versatile firefighting tools. Effective fireground operations often depend on the timely and adequate placement of ladders for rescue, ventilation, initiation of aboveground hoselines, access to upper floors and potential exposures, emergency egress, bridging, and salvage, to name a few.

Just about every piece of fire apparatus carries some complement of ground ladders. If they aren’t used often, due to low call volume requiring their use or because your primary responsibility on the fireground doesn’t usually involve them, refreshing your skills regarding their use is critical.

Use the background information and the scenarios in this week’s training article to conduct your own drill. Build on the scenarios by introducing scenarios from your own first due, then go to a training facility and apply the theories discussed. At any fire, you can quickly change gears from engine company operations to participating in truck company operations requiring you to deploy ground ladders for rescue, ventilation, or means of egress.

Remember these tips:

  1. “Dump the truck apparatus for time.” This is accomplished by choosing an appropriate objective and having your personnel correctly place all the ladders carried by your apparatus.
  2. As you drive through your district, periodically pick objectives of varying heights. Ask your personnel what ladders might be necessary to reach a particular objective. If there is any disagreement, you are not sure, or you want to remove the dust from the ladders, raise them. You will like this drill for three reasons. First, it challenges your personnel to think. Second, it enhances their judgment and ability to select an appropriate ladder. Third, personnel are challenged to a contest (they like that), and it probably will result in several ladders being raised (you will like that).
  3. Practice raising your ladders with as few personnel as is safely possible. Doing so can stimulate thought, increase options, and increase your available staff for other tasks.
  4. You may never use some ladder evolutions at an incident. However, the more evolutions you practice, the more confident and proficient you and your team will become.

Find materialsyou’re your drill at: Ground Ladder Placement

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