Pointers for safe use of ground ladders

Pointers for safe use of ground ladders

As part of my recruit training 35 years ago in the UK Fire Service, I was taught a couple of things about climbing ground ladders that I have rarely, if ever, seen taught this side of the pond.

1. When going up or down a ground ladder, most people instinctively use the “left-hand/right-foot” method. We were taught to use the same foot as the hand–i.e., left hand/left foot.

This method not only allows you to run up a ladder more quickly, but it reduces ladder bounce. It feels awkward at first, but if you persist, you`ll like it. I still do it instinctively, even though I learned it in 1963.

2. When entering a window or stepping onto a roof, go one rung above the sill and step down into the window instead of up. It allows you to see the condition of the sill (integrity, broken glass, and so on) and permits you to put your foot on a clear stretch of sill instead of kicking something with your toes as you step up to the sill. The thing you`re kicking could be part of a customer.

Similarly, when stepping off the roof or out of the window onto the ladder, step up. You can see the rung you`re aiming for instead of “fishing” for it with your foot.

Rem Gaade

Chief of Special Operations

Toronto (Ont., Canada) Fire Services

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