My department is looking to purchase a quint. What is everyone's preference to what the ladder is made of?

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Chris,

The discussion of steel and aluminum has a few factors. One being the cost/weight but I would hope that doesn't drive your department's decision. The biggest deciding factor should be what you plan to do with this aerial. "Scope of Practice" From pre-planning, what is the common height of structures / dwellings of your response district, do you have other aerials, many cities go with different types, styles to fit the response district. Ie: Straight Stick, Quint, Tower, Snorkel, Bronto Lift, Articulating Flies etc. This should drive how big of a truck, length needed for reach and tip load factors.

We have a heavy duty straight stick steel 110' aerial - 1000 lb tip load at any angle/length.
I am assigned to a 75' Quint - Aluminum Ladder with only a 500 lb rated tip load. 6 man cab, 2000 gpm pump, 500 gallon water tank, 30 gallon foam tank, 8 KW diesel generator. Sometimes a pumper / other times a ladder company.

Two completely different machines...
Agreed. Also consider where you live. Aluminum ladders tend to move more than steel in windy areas. Aluminum ladders weigh less, thus when snow or ice covered they still weigh less. But, they may also be overloaded by the ice load to some degree. There are a ton of factors to consider. Aluminum ladders inherently have deficiencies come up on inspections since the welds are very visible. Normally, these are no more than surface issues that a wire brush fixes. Steel ladders may need to be painted. Most aluminum ladders will not be rated for high anchor points. You need to develop a list of necessary uses and talk to the manufacturers.
Simple, Steel whenever possible!!!! Best Aerials(Steel): Smeal ......Best Aerials Aluminium (Sutphen)....Just my two cents.
Thanks to all of you for your input! I am gonna bring the suggestions back to the committee.
Bill,While I'm NOT in disagreement here,you DO realize you just opened the floodgates,RIGHT?
Chris,We're taking delivery on a Smeal MM platform in a little less than 2 months.One thing that impressed me is our 100' tower can reach 99' horizontal,which is one of the furthest reaching aerials in the US. Even more than the Bronto,HORIZONTAL. The Bronto has more vertical. Like Fetc says,what are you trying to accomplish? Remember,you have to fit it into the "house".

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