Fire Department of New York (FDNY) Lieutenant Michael Wilbur enthusiastically addressed students at his “Truck Placement and Operations” workshop on Tuesday afternoon. Lecturing on the importance of aerial towers and tower ladders in fireground operations, Wilbur included a long series of photos and videos of not just proper apparatus placement, but also of the negative results of ladder truck mismanagement. He also included several examples, both positive and negative, on positioning; and maneuvering; and climbing “the stick” when attempting to rescue victims. Wilbur expressed the need for better approaches to victims at fires; he stressed approaching the victim from underneath instead of from behind, thereby avoiding the potential disaster of a panicking victim lunging at the ladder crew. “When you come to my department in the Bronx, the first thing we teach you is how to operate the ladder…you need to be able to think ahead and outside-the-box and have a can-do attitude. Professionalism comes from within.”
Wilbur added, “The purpose of putting up the ladder is for us [the firefighters].”
Wilbur is a past contributor to Fire Engineering and runs the Web site www.emergencyvehicleresponse.com.