Get the truck up! How many times have we all heard those words on a fire scene?
I have spent the majority of my career riding the engine, but my best friends have been truck firefighters. When the truck firefighters arrive carrying, more ladders than a sign hanging company who do you think they are there to help? Duh! What good are all those ladders if they never hit the ground and the aerial ladder stays in the bed? None!
Firefighters may arrive on different types of trucks, squads, ambos, or engines, but our mission remains the same. Protecting life and property is our main goal. Even more importantly is making the fires scene safer for us!
How many ladders did you have in place for means of egress on your last fire? Did the truck company ladder the building with their aerial? I remember seeing a scene from the Boston Fire Department where they had five, six or even seven ladder trucks up and operating. Bam! That is what’s up, the trucks up for sure.
Pre-planning your response area will allow you to estimate which apparatus will arrive first, second, third and so on. It is our job as engine riders to allow access to the building for the truck. Hoses can be extended, but ladders have a maximum reach that cannot be extended. When placing the engine for operations, make sure to leave access for the (ladder) truck.
However, this is the Views From the Jumpseat blog, so how can I, the backwards rider, contribute to the discussion?
As jumpseat firefighters is our job to be responsible when asked to ladder the building. From quickly deploying a ground ladder to the proper placement of the tip of the aerial ladder, we should be able to do these tasks in a minimal amount of time. Practice makes perfect so get out, work with your closest truck company and practice setting the truck up. Who knows, one day you may be reassigned to the truck or be called on to assist them in getting the #truckup!
Be safe everyone