Ladders, math and smoke showing from the Truck
Looking closely at the photo, I would guess that a 14′ ground ladder is being used to the porch roof and I would hope that you do too. But how do we come to this conclusion? Well, to be honest, neither one of us can say so for sure since we weren’t there and you can’t see the bottom of the ladder. But on the other hand, a 14′ ground ladder is most commonly carried on an engine company in addition to a 24′ extension ladder and both are recognized by NFPA standards. If you look at both of them when they’re stored, you’ll see that they are the same length. This is just as important to recognize as it is to known that a two-section 28′ is 16′ in length and a two-section 35′ is approximately 20′ in length. This obviously won’t increase the number of ladders that you have on the rig, but it will increase your options.
Knowing the equipment is only half on the battle though; it is just as imperative to know the building you are deploying them to.
Relax, you’re on the truck so there is no need to be a mathematician but you will need to know some basic math at least initially.
It is about 10′ from the floor to the porch roof. Add to that another 2′ or 3′ between the ground and porch floor and you should come up with 12′ or 13′. Now here is the only tricky part: for any ladder used at its full height up to about 28′, you will lose a foot or so of that total when you pull it out to 75 degrees or the “recommended climbing angle”. For ladders that are 28′ or greater in height, you’ll lose about two feet.
Did I lose you? If I did, it’s really quite simple, just look at it like this; it’s about twelve feet to the roof from the ground. After throwing a 14′ ladder, you’ll notice one rung is above the porch roof once you’ve pulled the butt end out a quarter of the way from the building.
The most important aspect of throwing ladders is to practice. I wouldn’t have known any of this without doing so, of course. I learned it first hand as opposed to reading it in a book or seeing it on the internet. I would highly encourage you to do the same. You don’t have to do anything fancy, but the benefits of just going through the motions cannot be overstated.
We had an excellent discussion a couple of weeks ago where we focused on truck work in general, but also on ground ladders in specific. You can view it here.
If you take the time to read each bullet point, I ask that you review the comments as well. Most are very note worthy, including one from Brian Brush, who suggests that it is possible to cantilever the ladder if you climb too high or if the length of the ladder is greater above the target than the distance used below it.
What else can we learn from this photo? What can be said about the window and the smoke coming from it? Would you expect that the attic is finished and if so, are there any additional concerns?
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Buffalo 126 Moselle Street photo courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell Photography, used with permission.