National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Report: Angles and Separation

by Amanda McHenry
www.firefighternearmiss.com

This week’s National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Report of the Week‘s reporter finds himself trapped in a situation that pushes the limits of problem solving. The report reinforces the need to follow best practices and make corrections when our intuition tells us things are not right. This report falls into the category of things that makes us pause and say, “Who would have thought…” and reminds us of how long the list grows when it comes to what can go wrong when we bypass best practices. An excerpt:

“Our engine company responded to an inside investigation at a local chain restaurant…The captain advised our crew (3 man Engine Company) and the ladder (1 man Ladder Company) to throw a ladder and investigate. I had all P.P.E. on including S.C.B.A. and grabbed the thermal imaging camera and a 4 foot hook while the ladder operator threw a 24 foot extension ladder…I began my climb while the ladder operator heeled the ladder. When I reached the top, I felt the ladder shift approximately 3 to 4 inches. I “hugged” the ladder and swung around to step onto the parapet wall when I felt myself get caught on the ladder. At this point, I had one foot on the ladder and one foot on the parapet wall…The latch for the front flap on my coat had latched itself onto the beam of the ladder. The ladder operator who was heeling the ladder was screaming for me to get off. I was worried about the ladder sliding off the roof so I pulled as hard as I could and…”

Read the full report HERE, then consider the following:


  1. How often does your company drill on climbing ground ladders?

  2. When was the last time you climbed a ladder on the incident scene?

  3. What “street smart” tips have you been taught regarding safe ladder operations?

  4. Which manual of instruction does your department follow for teaching ladders?

  5. What steps would you take to prevent a similar situation from happening to you?

  6. Had a near miss that occurred when climbing a ladder? Submit your report to www.firefighternearmiss.com today to get everyone home next week.

    Note: The questions posed by the reviewers are designed to generate discussion and thought in the name of promoting firefighter safety. They are not intended to pass judgment on the actions and performance of individuals in the reports.

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