i'm glad we were able to get back to pompier ladders-LOL. i climbed one once...ONCE! then i started going inside- i love being a truckee (no hose to pack)
I've never seen anyone in New Jersey carrying them. The only one I've ever seen in person (as opposed to a textbook) was in Charleston, SC at their headquarters on Meeting Street.
You problably talk about what we call "hook lader" in France. We don't use that very often, but's it's used to reach victims on balconies when we do not have access with the aerials laders (for example when there is grass in front of the building and we can not stabilize the aerial lader), and to reach the floors higher than the height of the extension ladder.
Yes, the hook ladder was invented by a Frenchman. My great grandfather learn how to use it when he was a fire fighter in Elberfeld Germany, before he emigrated to St. Louis.