Last night was ladder test night down to the house. We tested out extension and roof ladders and everything went well. Then came the Little Giant, now I am not advocating for a specific product here, but I think the brand name will allow people to know what I am talking about. Looking at the NFPA 1932 2004 edition I found the classification "combination ladder" that had to be tested at 500 pounds. When I looked at the ladder, it was rated 1A for 350 pounds. Something did not add up. I am now glad that I did not test it, as the new 2010 edition of 1932 describes the ladders as multi-purpose ladders. They are to be tested as would a folding ladder at 225 pounds.
Now I am no NFPA expert, but is my thinking correct? Can we put this on our apparatus as a multi-purpose ladder and use it for 1 man at a time, or is there something that I am missing?
The little giant does not meet NFPA standards so it is not supposed to be in the fire services arsenal. That being said I personally feel that it is a wonderful ladder and if maintained it is a very useful tool, would I use one...sure will. There are many situations where NFPA ladders are to bulky or don't fit the job requirement as well as one of the configurations of the little giant. It all boils down to the right tool for the job and using common sense.
John and Andrew, thank you for your replys. I appreciate the time you took to help me. The 2010 edition of NFPA 1932 states:
5.1.2 Multi-purpose ladders used by fire service personnel for fire-fighting operations, rescue, and training shall meet the requirements of ANSI A14.2, Ladders - Portable Metal - Safety Requirements, or ANSI A14.5, Ladders - Portable Reinforced Plastic - Safety Requirements, and have a duty rating of Type 1A or 1AA.
It also defines the new classification as:
3.3.22 Multi-Purpose Ladder. A ground ladder capable of being used as either a step ladder or a straight ladder and comprising two telescoping adjustable-length-section assemblies connected via a hinge assembly.
It continues on in Annex A to state that they recommend only 1 person on the ladder at a time due to the weight designation. These are new additions to the standard and are tested the same way a folding ladder is tested. In NFPA land, even my 350 pound rated ladder is not permitted to be loaded over 300 pounds.
Keep in mind, I am not an NFPA expert, and I am asking for your help. Again, I appreciate it. I just wanted to clerify my thought because the new standard was just released in December 2009. Thanks again.
I can see that type of ladder very useful in a non-hazard environment, and without the extra weight of bunker gear and SCBA. For instance, many departments have a smoke detector installation program. This type of ladder would be very easy to maneuver inside hallways.
In farm areas or cross fenced pastures, it could be useful to cross the common 4 - 5 strand Gaucho fences without ripping your clothes to shreds. You're not a country boy/gal until you've become tangled in a 5 strand.
I don't see the problem with having and using them in some situations.
I never really looked at that aspect. I can't recall us ever "testing" them. They have been carried on the engines and truck of my previous employer for the last 20 years. I miss them. I would much rather have one when accessing an attic over an attic ladder. Those scuttles are just big enough to allow us to fit into them with a pack.
We aren't subject to NFPA, so I'm more than happy to use the Little Giant our pumper came issued with. My favourite ladder - easy to take into a house and use as a step-ladder, easy to use outside for whatever purpose needed. Most houses in my area are single storey, and the Little Giant can be opened up to get us up on the roof in most cases. Only suitable for one person at a time is fine for our methods. If we need a higher ladder, we carry two others.
I'm reading some of these responses and can't hardly believe it, have any of you ever seen an actual "little giant" or a knock-off. The little giant is one of the strongest ladders I've ever seen and it's not residential it's commercial, most don't want to shell out the cash for one and buy the look a like which is not even close. Now as with most ladders it's specific, I wouldn't use it as a roof or extension or attic, in fact may not even use it at a fire, but get me in a rescue situation and it my ladder of choice, versatility second to none.