I have a 'continuing' discussion with a few people (all of whom have only ever worked with/on ladders since joining the department) about the right way to foot (or heel) a ladder.  Granted I was "taught" the fire service way -to stand beneath the ladder holding the rails- but when I'm footing the ladder I stand facingit (and when climbing I'd prefer the footer do the same).  

I've done carpentry/construction for years and have never seen anyone stand beneath a ladder.  The risk of being hit by dropped tools/materials is too great.  Yet the fire service still teaches this method.

In my opinion, footing the ladder while facing it allows the footer to watch the FF climbing, be aware of any hazards (including dropped tools) and, under conditions or situations where the ladder might slip, allow the footer to actually stand on the bottom rung for additional ballast.

I'm not looking for a poll as to which way you do it but rather, sound arguments for one way or the other.

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"Better" is the way I want to do it, and that's final...until someone else posts something different.
Ben,

That was uncharacteristically concise.

So, are we going into Naum's burning house, or what? (I know, I know. It depends.)
Ben,

I had no idea you worked in the South Bronx. How long?
Did you think that the South Bronx was the only place that had a lot of fire in the 1970's?
Well there you go. Still don't agree with you.
Reg,

It's not as simple as "heel" the ladder.

I agree that the FF's job of "heeling" the ladder is to heel the ladder, however he also has a responsibilty to keep track of what goes up and what comes down.

If something happens on the fireground and the "heeler" has to be replaced for what ever reason, how is the person replacing the "heeler" supposed to know what is going on? It's just like being in command you have to do your face to face and pass on information.
Hell no. It's just one of the many usual suspects too numerous to list. But the suspense is killin' me. Where were ya?
Mostly in TN - a mix of career and volunteering on the side.
Either or.

I was first to go up yesterday. The person with me footed facing the house, worked fine. When it was time for me to come back down, ladder wanted to slide sideways - I asked for someone to get underneath and one of the Lt's did the honours, problem solved.

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