24ft or 28ft two section, extension ladders. What's your choice and why?
Given that there are very minor dimential and weight differances between 24 and 28 foot two section ladders, is there a reason to have the 24ft as opposed to the 28ft? Regardless of having them on engines or trucks, is there still a reason to go with the 24ft extension ladder?
Being a truck guy, I thought this would be an interesting discussion to start. As an FYI, I'm a big fan of the 28.
It would be nice to always do things 'by the book", but then again it all depends on what book you are talking about. Nothing dictates what, and how you do things more than staffing. You learn the basics at your very first beginninglevel of certification. And then, just like everything else in the real world, you learn how to adapt to situations by actual, practical experience. Maybe the good book says that a 24' reuires two firefighters for optimal safety. A well-trained and experienced firefighter can carry and throw that ladder by him'herself when staffing levels dicate...or they should find another job.
That being said, I think it's a little more than personal preference. You may have arguments for days about nozzles, but a one-liner over ladder size shows how little thought it is given. It's a good bet that many engine companies, and departments that don't have an aerial rarely pull the ladders off the pumper.
24' or 28' would depend largely on the type of construction in the companies local. Many of the newer townhouses and condos, as well as SFD's with balcony and built-up landscaping may be better served by a 28'.
I know I prefer a two-section 35' over three. And short-staffing has resulted in far fewer 40'-50' portable ladders, "Bangor Ladders" which may leave many a fourth-floor stranded victim little chaoice but to jump, due to lack of aerial access.
We run 24's here, and they work just fine for our area. We do have a 35 on one of the engies, just in case. The 24 works jsut fine for me, and I have to agree, ladders are seeming to become one of those lost arts. As for manpower, here every volunteer firefighter, as part of their final training evaluation required to become a vollunteer, is required to carry, raise, climb, lock-in, work from, lower, and return to service a 24 foot ladder by themselves. there's a lot of different views on why we do it, but no matter the reason, its part of the final eval. If they can't do it by themselves SAFELY, then they're not accepted as a volunteer. And before you jump me, there is a second firefighter that "appears" during the evolution to heel the ladder. I know some of you were wondering. Also, every current firefighter on the department is required to pass this evolution yearly. I came from another dept, where one person on a 24 was a huge no-no. But honestly, it was interesting learning this way, and I have to say it definitely takes some practice to get it down. But, I'm glad that I know I can do it if I need to, and its one more thing we can get done while everyone is still arriving.
Yea that would be nice but its no realistic. I am all for safety but If I am driving a rig and someone is hanging off a balcony and needs rescue I am gonna get whatever ladder that is closest and rescue them.....you wont find this scenario in any IFSTA book but it happens everyday.
Anyone who would not do this belongs in a different proffesion.
I really do not have a prefererence. I am a Truck Officer and my only advice is to know what ladders you do carry and be proficient in their use and applications. Become efficient in estimating the height that you will need and this way we will most likely almost always be OK. As far as those who say they would never raise a 24 or 28' by themselves, OK. Just never come and work with me, because situation dictates actions most of the time. With less than minimum manpower, every FF on our crew has to do whatever it takes to get the job done. If someone needs a ladder at a window and only the Driver/Operator of the rig is available, guess what? He/She throws that ladder! It is not perfect and it is not safe and it is not what IFSTA or NFPA compliant, but it saves lives and that is our business and right now business is good!