Drill: “Grab the Green”

By Samuel Hittle

In critical moments, minor inconveniences incite frustration, which inhibits the cognitive process when we need it most. Mental inefficiency, in turn, leads to decreased functional proficiency. This ineffectiveness then lends itself to additional frustration growing the cycle.

Since combat-ready extension ladders are not stored with the halyard tied off around the bed and fly section, they are prone to separation when being removed if you grab the wrong side. If uncorrected the offset sections will redistribute the weight of the ladder rendering any balance points useless. This results in an increased effort to transport the ladder, starting the frustration process.  

Taking time to correct the issue attacks our internal sense of urgency. This tends to make us more susceptible to attempting to make up time elsewhere. As we know, shortcuts don’t always equate to shortened processes. Often, they instead manifest into prolonged operations again contributing to mental frustrations.  

RELATED: Reeder on Rope Operations | Martin on Alternate Tower Ladder Setups | Zaitz on Ground Ladder Markings

This drill looks at an improvement that facilitates a mental shortcut that will help prevent you from grabbing the wrong section of the ladder when removing it from the truck.

Since a combat-ready ladder tunnel is configured with deployment options (feet first, tip first), hand placement for removal will vary. Rather than relying on indicators already attached to the ladder, wrap the desired rung with green electrical tape. This eliminates trying to remember if you are supposed the grab it where the rope attaches or not grab it where the rope attaches. Instead, you just need to remember to “grab the green” and go.

Download this drill as a PDF HERE


Samuel Hittle is a lieutenant for the Wichita (KS) Fire Department and an instructor for Traditions Training, LLC.

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