Fire Service Ladders and Their Use—Part XXI

Fire Service Ladders and Their Use—Part XXI

Ladder Evolutions: Four and Six-Man Operations; Pole Ladders

Editor’s Note: This Chapter continues the series of installments on ladder evolutions begun in the August, 1951, issue (Part XV), which covered the removal of ladders from apparatus, their handling and climbing.

Subsequent Chapters discussed the following: Part XVI (Septetmber): One-man raise, short extension ladder; Part XVII (October): Two-man, straight and extension ladders; Part XVIII (November): Two-man, flatraise—wall ladder; Part XIX (December) Four-man, long extension ladders; Part XX (January): Three-man, long extension ladders.

This brings us to the consideration of pole extension ladders, the longest of the non-mechanically raised types.

For convenience in classifying this group of extension ladders, the author in Part XIX (December), divided it into two classes, the “short” pole extension ladder, and the “long” pole ladder. The short classification may be said to be any extension ladder below 50 feet length requiring poles (which would include the 40 and 45 foot ladders). The long pole extension ladder refers to anything 50 feet or over, which would include the prevailing 50, and 55 foot types, and the lesser used 60 and 65 foot ladders, the latter having double sets of tormentors.

Inasmuch as the present tendency is to power all ladders of 55 feet or over, except possibly where the 55 foot aluminum ladder is used, discussions of pole ladder operations will be confined to the 40 to 50 foot types. It will be noticed in the accompanying illustrations that the 40 foot wood trussed ladder, with removable poles, has been used as an example. This was to facilitate photography, and permit inclusion into the series of certain four-man evolutions.

POLE ladders have been described in earlier Chapters of this series. These ladders presently vary in length from 40 feet to 55 feet although some departments have carried ladders measuring up to 65 feet. The most widely used wood types are the 45 and 50 foot. The 55 foot two section aluminum type is growing in popularity. The extra five feet may be found highly desirable for some operations and notwithstanding the extra footing the 55 foot aluminum ladder weighs less than the old 50 foot wood extension pole ladder. Poles may be attached, or detached.

In general, the operations of removing the ladder from the apparatus, carrying it, spotting it, and raising it, are the same for the 40, 45 and 50 foot wood ladders. The chief difference exists where the fly is to be raised under the main section, or toward the building— or whether it is to be raised away from the building, or outside the main section. In one case the ladder should rest on the ground (preparatory to raising) with fly up, and in the other the fly should be underneath.

Pole ladders are usually stowed at the very bottom of the bed ladders in the modern ladder truck. In some of the older apparatus (more particularly the service truck) they were so located that they could be drawn out, and onto the shoulders of the crew with little difficulty. Nowadays, however, the situation as shown in Figs. 1 and 2 is more prevalent.

The first step in removing the pole ladder from the apparatus is to release the ladder locks. This is usually done by the driver. The crew (four men or six men) take position; two men draw out the ladder, the other men picking up the load midway (if six men) and at the truck end as the ladder is removed. In this operation the men should watch the ladder and rear of apparatus, as shown in Fig. 1.

When the ladder is free from its guides, or channels, men turn in the direction of travel with the ladder cradled in their hands, about as shown in the four-man carry in Fig. 2. If a six man carry, the additional two men are stationed at the center of the ladder.

From the position pictured in Fig. 2, the ladder is raised to the shoulders as shown in Fig. 3. Each man has one hand (the outside) free, with the other (inside) supporting part of the weight of the ladder on the shoulder.

The ladder is carried to the desired location and spotted the desired distance from the building, depending upon the type of raise to be made. The heel men usually determine the position for spotting.

In lowering the ladder to the ground, each man raises the outside hand, grasps the beam, pivoting the body at the same time to face in the opposite direction, as the ladder is lowered to the ground with fly on top. This is just the reverse of the picking-up operation shown in Fig. 5

When it is time to raise the ladder (flat raise), men take the positions shown in Fig. 4, facing in the opposite direction to that which they are to travel. The men at head and foot grasp the second rungs, the other two of the crew grasp a rung about midway between the other two crewmen. Hands grasp rungs with palms to the rear. Knees are bent, with the unengaged hand or forearm of each man preferably placed on the bent knee.

At the command, all hands rise with the ladder, pivoting under the ladder as they do and bringing the hand that was on the knee (the outside arm and hand) up to grasp the rail at about the shoulder (Fig. 5).

The shoulder carry is completed as shown in Fig. 6, and the men are ready to step off with their load. The lead men guard the spurs and prevent striking persons or other obstacles.

Arriving at the position for erecting the ladder, it is lowered to the ground as previously mentioned (in this study, parallel to the building). If the tormentors are the detachable type, the next step is to attach them as is pictured in Fig. 7.

The first movement in the actual process of erecting the ladder is for the two heel or butt men to pass the tormentors to the two beam men who were located in the middle of the ladder (Nos. 3 and 4 men in Fig. 8). Where tormentors are carried already connected to beams, the heel men (Nos. 1 and 2) first release the pins holding the spurs of the poles, before passing over the tormentors.

The tormentors are passed along to the pole men (Nos. 5 and 6 in Fig. 9) who await them, facing each other, beyond the tip of the grounded ladder. The men do not move to the ladder to receive them. They are shown receiving the tormentors in Fig. 9. All this time the two men at the heel remain on each side of the butt, as shown in the Figs. 9 and 10.

Poles are taken by the pole men at the waist, they do not reach overhead for them nor should the poles be thrown or dropped. After passing the tormentors over to the pole men, the beam men (Nos. 3-4) take position just back of the point where poles attach.

These preparatory steps completed, the actual raising of the ladder follows.

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