1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Default Selecting a ladder truck for a smaller department

    We're a POC department that covers a township-sized area of 17 square miles and a population of 5400 people, surrounded by one large city and several small cities. Fairly heavy industrial area, with several large factories.

    We don't currently have a ladder, but in my opinion we need one. We had a 55' TeleSqurt several years ago (on a 1974 Ford Chassis), but got rid of it to purchase a NFPA-compliant pumper. We have a decent budget, so we don't go wanting for equipment. We purchased an additional rescue pumper about two years ago.

    We're going to apply for a grant through FEMA to get a ladder truck, but we have limitations that make selecting a proper aerial difficult. If space were no object, we'd apply for a 100' midmount platform. The problem is that we'd have to get rid of our first out structure fire truck to get the ladder to fit in our station. We're also going to apply for the station expansion grant this summer, but we can't depend on that if we get a 100' platform.

    There are nice 75' quints out there, but I'm worried that a 75 footer may not get it done if we pull an assignment at one of these numerous commercial and industrial facilities.

    I'm leaning towards the 75-footer, because we could run it as an engine if the first-out were out of service, and we're probably more likely to get a grant for $600k instead of $900k.

    Anyone have any advice on a decision like this?

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pa Wilds



    Do a windshield survey of 3 types of hazards in your district, looking at a minimum of 7 of the worst in each type. Types might include industry and high value areas like malls and shopping centers; high life hazards like schools, nursing homes, multi tenant buildings; and lastly your bread and butter fires based upon your call history (residential ?) For each hazard (21 of them) look at placement locations and estimate the needed reach (scrub curves) both horizontal and vertical. Use this info to decide upon the size of ladder needed. Keep in mind that for different fire conditions the primary function of the ladder might be rescue one time and master stream application the next. A single placement on a corner of the building could be effective using water with a tower, but that same placement with a stick might be ineffective because of restrictions with directing the nozzle at right angles to the ladder. Access to a flat roof for ventilation without leaving the ladder / tower will be difficult to impossible, while and articulated device makes it easy to reach over a protruding cornice.
    Placing a midmount requires cocking the cab away from the fire building to provide lower access to single family dwellings, thus tying up the street. Many newer towers have a very large foot-print with jacks needing as much as 21 feet for set-up. A stick might work to rescue college or H.S. students, but would proove difficult to rescue invalids or hospital patients.
    Lots of thought should go into looking at your "Needs Assessment" before deciding upon a style or length. Hope this gets you thinking!

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Stamford, CT


    KuShise has given you excellent advice and I would strongly recommend you follow it. It is in your department's and more importantly your community's best interest to take the time to thoroughly investigate what it is you will need. A few additional tips
    1) Bigger is NOT always better. But it would be best to look at not only what is needed now, but what may be necessary in the future. Look at the development that has occured in your area and what plans are in the works for the near future. Try to buy what will serve best not only today but 10 yrs from now.
    2) If possible stick with one manufacturer. Having all your rigs made by the same company will only make maintainence easier.
    3) This is a personal observation. I'm not a fan of quints or most any "combo" rig. I have found that trying to sqeeze every function into one box usually means it can't do any of them fully. A truck is a truck, and engine an engine and n'er shall the two meet. (Remember for quints to be utilized properly you will need 2 operators..one for the pump and one for the aerial).
    And now a shameless plug.
    4) For stability and small footprint when set up nothing and I mean nothing beats an Aerialscope. These rigs have a service and safety history second to none. They are well worth the investment either new or one done under the refurbishment programs by Interstate of MD. Seagrave, Pierce or Spartan. (no I don't work for them, I'm just a very satisfied operator of a twice refurbed 1972 ex-FDNY 75' model..I can honestly say with complete candor that the purchase of our unit was the BEST investment we ever made).

    Last edited by FFPCogs08; 05-14-2009 at 07:11 AM.

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