In this section we are going to cuss and discuss Ground Ladder Operation on and off the fire scene and the proper techniques used and the safety that must be done, when working on or around ground ladders. For you lifers out there like myself feel free to give some insight and share your knowledge and lead the way and mold some of these young minds in here...
Training is knowledge!!!! And knowledge keeps us safe!!!!
Be aware of wind direction when venting windows, always place the ladder upwind of the window. Full PPE including eye protection is a must! Remember, bourkes or faceshield alone will not provide enough protection.
A few good books to study in regards to ground ladders are Truck Compnay Operations by J. Mittendorf and the IFSTA Essentials of Firefighting Manual. These are the books that I use as references whenever I teach ground ladders. Also, your Department's SOP's/SOG's is a good place to start as well.
I teach all of my new guys to always extend at least 5 rungs abour the roof line because when there is smoke puffing from the eaves or it is 0 dark 30 in the morning and the Engineer did not turn on the flood lights, you want as much to grab onto as possible. And when you need to make an egress off of a roof right now, it is easier to spot the ladder when it is waist high.
As asked before Ladder Maintenance, the first step should be clean the ladder after every use to remove any kind of mud, soot and any foreign matter in the locks and pulleys and rungs.
Clean the ladder between now and every six months for road grime and salts even if the ladder has not been used.
Soap and water works well on all types of ladders. wash the parts with a sponge or some type of brush and try to avoid high pressure washers, for sure if your still useing the old time wood ladders and always be carful not to remove any safety labels that maybe placed upon the ladder.
Rinse the ladder with clean water paying close attention to flushing out the inner surfaces of the side rails and inside any hollow rungs.
Next is inspect the ladder once clean and dry, inspect for any defects to the side walls, rungs, feet, pulley and pawls or locks. shake and twist the rungs to make sure they are tight. physically check the operation of hooks or ropes if present. Check the hinge mechanisms and locks.
Next is maintenance, before the ladders are placed back on the apparatus all sliding surfaces on all extension ladders should be rubbed with a paraffin or candle wax. fully extend the ladder and rub the wax into the upper and lower portions of the rails that slide against each other. Also rub wax on the accessible portions of the locks, especially those portions that rub against the rungs as the ladder is extended. Once finished a light coat of liquid car wax should be applied and removed to protect the finish.
Next is testing the ladder or have it tested. The NFPA 1932 standard is on use, maintenance, and service testing of in service fire department ground ladders and requires ladders to be tested once a year. The main test consist of a large load applied to the center portion of an extended ladder supported at each end in a horizontal position. It is a severe test and may cause some old ladders to fail...
I believe the firefighter in the yellow helmet should be closer to the heel end of the ladder. That way the firefighter is more alert of where the end of the ladder is and is move people out of the way if needed.
Additionally fire services ladders (especially aluminum) have heat indicators located on the inside of the beams. Those should be checked during your normal inspection as well. If the indicator has been activated then the ladder needs to be removed from service until it can be tested to the NFPA 1932 standard.
For what rescue 601 is talking about can anyone tell me the color it turns when the ladder has seen to much heat??? And good job 601 for bring that up...Some may see a NFPA compliant ladder with a circle that might have a gold color to it but once it has seen to much heat it turns to another color...