November’s training prompt challenges you to look at one important part of truck work: Ladders.
Truck work, or ladder company operations, do not require a ladder company apparatus. Having a 100′ aerial or a 75′ tower ladder is a great advantage; however many of the key truck work basics do not require the “stick.” For some of you, these basics are covered by the firefighter riding across from you (he or she may be the forcible entry person on your engine company) or they may be covered by the second or third arriving company (ladders, search). If it happens that these assignments are made up as you get to the scene, or once the chief arrives, well, heaven help you – and anyone trapped inside.
Think about your department, your shift, and consider the following:
1. Do we practice like we fight? Do we treat the alarm for what it could be or are we reactive and let the fire dictate our responses?
2. When was the last time we worked on properly throwing ladders? Not the slow, methodical fire recruit way, but the one- and two-man raises, dropping it into the window, working fast.
3. Is our engine setup to have the extension ladder on the outside or is it kept behind the roof ladder?
4. Have the previous fires we’ve been to depicted good, fair or bad truck company operations? Why?
5. What addresses are in my response area that have a layout making it difficult to do truck work?
6. If there is no ladder company on our assignments, who is doing the ladder company work?
7. How many ladders, on average, can my truck company throw by the time the first hoseline has begun darkening down the fire? How many by the time the backup hoseline has been stretched?
Photos courtesy Mark Brady, PGFEMS PIO. Image and Truck 9 photo courtesy author.