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  1. #1
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    Default Synthetic ladder halyard

    Our current ladder halyards are natural fiber and starting to dry rot. What are the pros vs. cons of sythetic rope being used for a fire ladder?


  2. #2
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    How does melting sounds? Plus it is much slicker on a heavy ladder.
    Jason Brooks
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    Default Melting???

    So my options are:

    A: Fire hits the ladder and the halyard rope melts if its synthetic...

    Or

    B: Fire hits the ladder and the natural fiber catches fire...

    Dont know which one sounds worse...if its going to melt or catch fire the ladder is more than likely going to have to be taken out of service anyway. Also we run all of 5 structure fires a year where I am at.

    When I say sythetic I am meaning a rope that meets NFPA 1931 for halyards

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    The natural rope fibers seem to help the rope from sliding through your hands a little bit. I think the synthetic rope may be more slippery. I have never used or seen a fire ladder with synthetic rope though.
    Jason Brooks
    IAFF Local 2388
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    No one has mentioned stretch yet. Synthetic rope typically is more dynamic, and will stretch more than natural products.
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  6. #6
    Forum Member Frmboybuck's Avatar
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    I would say for ladders that get thrown maybe 10 times a year, including trainings, a synthetic halyard will work just as well
    Buck
    Assistant Chief/EMT-B

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    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well............

    Our Ladders get thrown a bit. Or a lot, depends on your point of view. Synthetic, but not Poly, rope works well for us. One Point: Over the years I've waged a war against what I consider IMPROPER installation of the Halyard. The One end of the Halyard should be connected to the Becket on the bottom rung of the Fly Section. The rope should then pass thru the pulleys in the factory-prescribed manner. The end of the Rope should be secured to the Bottom Rung of the Bed Section. NEVER Tie the rungs of two or more sections together. When someone is hanging out of the window waiting for your ladder, they don't want to watch you try to untie the knot put there by someone else who yanked it a lot tighter than necessary. I wrap a couple of turns around the bottom rung of the bed section and tie it to itself. Best option is if you have an old hand that knows how to splice rope, splice it. Before someone jumps up and asks "What about tying it off after it's extended?" In my opinion, Tying off a modern Fire Service Extension Ladder that is working properly is a waste of time, and serves no purpose whatsoever..........
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Our Ladders get thrown a bit. Or a lot, depends on your point of view. Synthetic, but not Poly, rope works well for us. One Point: Over the years I've waged a war against what I consider IMPROPER installation of the Halyard. The One end of the Halyard should be connected to the Becket on the bottom rung of the Fly Section. The rope should then pass thru the pulleys in the factory-prescribed manner. The end of the Rope should be secured to the Bottom Rung of the Bed Section. NEVER Tie the rungs of two or more sections together. When someone is hanging out of the window waiting for your ladder, they don't want to watch you try to untie the knot put there by someone else who yanked it a lot tighter than necessary. I wrap a couple of turns around the bottom rung of the bed section and tie it to itself. Best option is if you have an old hand that knows how to splice rope, splice it. Before someone jumps up and asks "What about tying it off after it's extended?" In my opinion, Tying off a modern Fire Service Extension Ladder that is working properly is a waste of time, and serves no purpose whatsoever..........
    We have a guy in our house that does this splicing. Another reason not to use synthetic. The rope ends up being in one continuos loop and there is no delay when ladders are being thrown; there is no knot to untie. The fly goes up without any delay and as Harve states, the loop hanging under the ladder has never been an issue.

  9. #9
    IACOJ BOD FlyingKiwi's Avatar
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    Send me the rope and $5.00 I will splice it for you.
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  10. #10
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    Default Dacron / Polyester halyards

    We have been using Dacron Polyester halyards since the early 1980's. It was changed to synthetic because the rope on the 50 ft Bangor was questionable for strength due to its age. After some research back then, many racing yachts were switching due to the low stretch of the Dacron as compared to Nylon and the to damage by sunlight compared with both Nylon and Polypropelene. We have been delighted with the serviceability of this rope. If the sheaves can accept 5/8" rope, I would suggest that 8 stranded halyard line be used, due to the ease of gripping the rope. This halyard line is braided on a 2 by 2 (4 pairs) weave and provides a very good grip when wet with leather gloves. This is not a Kern-Mantle weave but a halyard weave for sailing. For smaller pulley sheaves, a 1/2 inch 3 strand twist will still provide an adequate grip with leather firefighting gloves. As suggested in other replies, select a rope that can be spliced without using the cheap metal clip (staple) that usually comes with the original Manila rope.

    Manila has the following characteristics:
    Acid resistance - poor; Oil or Gasoline - poor; Thermal - Chars at 350 deg. F; Sunlight - good; Abrasion - good; Shock load - low; Stretch to break - 10 to 12%

    Dacron / Polyester characteristics:
    Acid Resistance - good; Oil or Gasoline - Very good; Thermal - melts at 490 deg. F; Sunlight - excellent; Abrasion - Excellent; Shock Load - Good; Stretch to break - 12 to 14%

    Nylon has a stretch to break of 15 to 28% so avoid it for halyards. Check Champion Cordage website at http://www.championcordage.com/htm/rs.htm

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Our Ladders get thrown a bit. Or a lot, depends on your point of view. Synthetic, but not Poly, rope works well for us. One Point: Over the years I've waged a war against what I consider IMPROPER installation of the Halyard. The One end of the Halyard should be connected to the Becket on the bottom rung of the Fly Section. The rope should then pass thru the pulleys in the factory-prescribed manner. The end of the Rope should be secured to the Bottom Rung of the Bed Section. NEVER Tie the rungs of two or more sections together. When someone is hanging out of the window waiting for your ladder, they don't want to watch you try to untie the knot put there by someone else who yanked it a lot tighter than necessary. I wrap a couple of turns around the bottom rung of the bed section and tie it to itself. Best option is if you have an old hand that knows how to splice rope, splice it. Before someone jumps up and asks "What about tying it off after it's extended?" In my opinion, Tying off a modern Fire Service Extension Ladder that is working properly is a waste of time, and serves no purpose whatsoever..........
    Sorry for the hijack, but boy do I agree with you 100% Harve. This has been a thorn of mine for ages.

    Unfortunately, when required to train to the standard programs of the day, we must teach the rookies the old clove hitch or halyard knot method that I hate.

    My personal compromise is that I teach them to use a bight (slip knot) for the final wrap. This gives the friction and strength of the clove hitch, and a very quick release by simply pulling the running end below the knot
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 01-09-2009 at 04:07 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Our Ladders get thrown a bit. Or a lot, depends on your point of view. Synthetic, but not Poly, rope works well for us. One Point: Over the years I've waged a war against what I consider IMPROPER installation of the Halyard. The One end of the Halyard should be connected to the Becket on the bottom rung of the Fly Section. The rope should then pass thru the pulleys in the factory-prescribed manner. The end of the Rope should be secured to the Bottom Rung of the Bed Section. NEVER Tie the rungs of two or more sections together. When someone is hanging out of the window waiting for your ladder, they don't want to watch you try to untie the knot put there by someone else who yanked it a lot tighter than necessary. I wrap a couple of turns around the bottom rung of the bed section and tie it to itself. Best option is if you have an old hand that knows how to splice rope, splice it. Before someone jumps up and asks "What about tying it off after it's extended?" In my opinion, Tying off a modern Fire Service Extension Ladder that is working properly is a waste of time, and serves no purpose whatsoever..........
    ............

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Our Ladders get thrown a bit. Or a lot, depends on your point of view. Synthetic, but not Poly, rope works well for us. One Point: Over the years I've waged a war against what I consider IMPROPER installation of the Halyard. The One end of the Halyard should be connected to the Becket on the bottom rung of the Fly Section. The rope should then pass thru the pulleys in the factory-prescribed manner. The end of the Rope should be secured to the Bottom Rung of the Bed Section. NEVER Tie the rungs of two or more sections together. When someone is hanging out of the window waiting for your ladder, they don't want to watch you try to untie the knot put there by someone else who yanked it a lot tighter than necessary. I wrap a couple of turns around the bottom rung of the bed section and tie it to itself. Best option is if you have an old hand that knows how to splice rope, splice it. Before someone jumps up and asks "What about tying it off after it's extended?" In my opinion, Tying off a modern Fire Service Extension Ladder that is working properly is a waste of time, and serves no purpose whatsoever..........
    Oh boy......One of my biggest pet peeves!!!

    I never understood why you would tie off a perfectly good working order ladder anyway! Thank you Harve!!!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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