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  1. #1
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    Default VES question....

    I know this is going to possibly open a floodgate of nonsense, but I have a legitimate VES question.
    Its sad I have to put a disclaimer, but im just looking for the answer to the question and not all the other junk that follows when a question is asked in this place. So please, just answer the question and move on.

    During VES, the ladder is placed just under the windowsill. The VES class I recently took, we were using a house that was surrounded by dirt/grass and the ladder was basically being footed by getting buried in the grass/dirt.
    How does it work if you're throwing ladders on concrete? The VES ladder is "technically" not at the proper climbing angle, so wouldn't there be an issue if you have it on concrete?


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deluge059 View Post
    I know this is going to possibly open a floodgate of nonsense, but I have a legitimate VES question.
    Its sad I have to put a disclaimer, but im just looking for the answer to the question and not all the other junk that follows when a question is asked in this place. So please, just answer the question and move on.

    During VES, the ladder is placed just under the windowsill. The VES class I recently took, we were using a house that was surrounded by dirt/grass and the ladder was basically being footed by getting buried in the grass/dirt.
    How does it work if you're throwing ladders on concrete? The VES ladder is "technically" not at the proper climbing angle, so wouldn't there be an issue if you have it on concrete?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xi5ZsUKxZvM

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    Some one needs to hold or heal the ladder. You can also tie the ladder to something stable.

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    I call BS.

    There was a firefighter in Seattle who did a VES into a dormer on a 1.5 story house on New Years Day w/o someone footing the latter, on a concrete driveway, in a situation that demanded immediate action and a calculated risk based on years of experience and training. He made the save.

    http://www.kirotv.com/news/26377483/detail.html

    Sometimes, and in some jurisdictions we won't have the luxury of having someone to foot the ladder at the moment we climb it.

    Seconds count. We signed up for a job that can be dangerous at times. Our citizens do not have the luxury of wearing PPE, and are counting on us to do the right thing. They pay us good money to take risks when saveable lives are on the line.
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 02-28-2011 at 10:54 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    I call BS.

    Most residences in my area have yards with soft ground, especially in the vicinity of bedroom windows.

    If you foot the ladder forcefully you can dig the butt spurs in pretty deep, more than enough to create some stability. If there is a pronounced sill it can act to brace the ladder as well.

    Sometimes, and in some jurisdictions we won't have the luxury of having someone to foot the ladder at the moment we climb it.

    Seconds count. We signed up for a job that can be dangerous at times. Our citizens do not have the luxury of wearing PPE, and are counting on us to do the right thing.
    You can call BS all you want but your circumstances don't hold true everywhere. In many cases the city I work in has homes with driveways on both sides. One for the home in question, and the other for the neighboring house. so both sides of the house had no grass at all or a very narrow strip between the driveway and the house. For VES, the grass area, if any, was generally in the wrong place.

    If there is no way to solidly anchor the butt, either by sinking it in the grass, or dirt, or by tieing it off to a solid object, it must be butted by another firefighter.
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  6. #6
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    Duh.

    If given the choice, I would obviously want the ladder footed.

    I was providing an example where it wasn't, and it worked.

    It also proves that we can't always mitigate the risk to zero to get the job done.



    I'm not judging anyone's intent...just fueling discussion, because life, and this job throws curveballs at us...and the world is not an IFSTA manual or giant FF1 test.



    Rhetorical Question...

    If someone told you YOUR kids were stuck in a second floor bedroom in a situation where immediate VES will be neccessary to save their lives, and you were by yourself with a ladder and the appropriate tools with no immediate help and nothing but concrete to slam it on....what would you do?
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 02-28-2011 at 11:34 PM.

  7. #7
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    To add to my post above...

    Calculated risk is a huge part of our job, but what purpose is served in placing a ladder, taking the risk, and then having the ladder kick out as we ascend the ladder to make the rescue, or as we descend after making the victim removal? It does us, or the victim, no good, for the operation to fail because we didn't take the time to secure the ladder. A 10 to 20 foot drop or more on the concrete can be crippling or deadly.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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  8. #8
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    Duh.

    If given the choice, I would obviously want the ladder footed.

    I was providing an example where it wasn't, and it worked.

    It also proves that we can't always mitigate the risk to zero to get the job done.

    I never said the danger could be mitigated to zero. But my point is clear. We do no one any good if the ladder we place to rescue them kicks out and falls because we didn't secure it before climbing.


    I'm not judging anyone's intent...just fueling discussion, because life, and this job throws curveballs at us...and the world is not an IFSTA manual or giant FF1 test.

    Wow! Gosh thanks for that pearl of wisdom. My 34 years as a firefighter never taught me that...




    Rhetorical Question...

    If someone told you YOUR kids were stuck in a second floor bedroom in a situation where immediate VES will be neccessary to save their lives, and you were by yourself with a ladder and the appropriate tools with no immediate help and nothing but concrete to slam it on....what would you do?

    These types of questions are, in my opinion anyways, idiotic and have no basis in reality when comparing that to the job of firefighting. Any man that says they wouldn't walk through the very gates of hell to save their own kids is a liar. I would take higher risks for my family simply because they are my family. Which is not to say I won't take risk for others in the course of my duty, just more calculated ones. In my case the only upstairs bedroom is my wife and I, all the kids are downstairs. I can access all of their rooms without a ladder. So much for the rhetorical question.
    I am not saying I would NEVER place a ladder on concrete and climb it without a butt person, or tieing it off, or sinking it in the grass. I am aying I would do my best to see that it was secured in some manner before climbing if possible. There is a subtle difference.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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  9. #9
    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    Unless it's polished concrete, the metal spurs on a ground ladder surprisingly have quite a bit of friction.

    If it was an acute angle, I would hang the hooks of the roof ladder in the sill.
    That's only if there was no one there to foot it which would be rare.
    IAFF

  10. #10
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    Like I said, I completely understand where you're coming from.

    I would cringe at the idea of climbing a ladder without proper footing. However, it has been done with spectacular results. I would cringe even more at the thought of telling a parent I didn't climb that ladder to try and save their child's life, because I was afraid it might fall out from below me.

    VES is an extremely controversial topic for many people. We should all ask ourselves these questions. These situations do happen.

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    for us it would be very few and far between to not have another person available, we work in pairs. But if it came down to it, there are a lot of options. If you're on the driveway between houses you can use the adjacent house or fence to foot the ladder. If you can't do that I'd just use a very steep angle to lessen the chance of kicking out. The ladder doesn't make to be at the perfect angle for climbing.

  12. #12
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    Ideally, yes someone footing the ladder.

    I'd have no qualms going up a ladder without someone footing it. Some folks are more comfortable operating off a ground ladder then others. Not a slam, just a statement of fact.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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  13. #13
    Forum Member Bushwhacker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    Like I said, I completely understand where you're coming from.

    I would cringe at the idea of climbing a ladder without proper footing. However, it has been done with spectacular results. I would cringe even more at the thought of telling a parent I didn't climb that ladder to try and save their child's life, because I was afraid it might fall out from below me.

    VES is an extremely controversial topic for many people. We should all ask ourselves these questions. These situations do happen.
    I cringe at the thought of the Same ladder sliding out from a second story window with me and a Kid on it...In what instance on the fire ground is there not some one able to heel a ladder? realistically?
    Even with the minimum staffing we are seeing i Can't see some one not being able to hold a ladder.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I am not saying I would NEVER place a ladder on concrete and climb it without a butt person, or tieing it off, or sinking it in the grass. I am aying I would do my best to see that it was secured in some manner before climbing if possible. There is a subtle difference.
    Duh. Again. We all aspire to that. But sometimes that is not an option when we need to make a difference. That was the whole point of my response. Again.

    Regarding the "idiotic" question regarding kids. I love my family. As much as I love my family, I know there are other families that love theirs as much as I love mine, and as a result I've decided they deserve my best effort, and that includes taking risks.

    This is becoming a circular discussion, mostly because I think your ego is a little too invested in this message board, and it has become a waste of my time. I will not be reading this thread or responding to you again.

  15. #15
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by powerhourcoug View Post
    Duh. Again. We all aspire to that. But sometimes that is not an option when we need to make a difference. That was the whole point of my response. Again.

    Regarding the "idiotic" question regarding kids. I love my family. As much as I love my family, I know there are other families that love theirs as much as I love mine, and as a result I've decided they deserve my best effort, and that includes taking risks.

    This is becoming a circular discussion, mostly because I think your ego is a little too invested in this message board, and it has become a waste of my time. I will not be reading this thread or responding to you again.
    My ego? Really? That's your answer to someone disagreeing with you and calling you on a truly ididotic scenario?

    None of the FDs I have EVER been on send people to do ladder raises by themselves, especially for a rescue or VES. I am sorry that your FD is critically short handed and this is not a what if, but reality, situation for you.

    Here is why I am so adamant about exhausting methods to butt a ladder before setting it unsecured on cement. During a training evolution on my career FD we had a FF on a ladder carrying a stokes basket up the ladder. he dropped it yelled look out and the guy butting the ladder let go and moved away from the ladder. Once he let go of the ladder it kicked out and the firefighter on the ladder fell to the pavement. He was injured seriously enough that he suffered fractures and had to have reconstructive surgery. He was off the job for months.

    I am VERY comfortable working off ladders and when I work off from them at home they are seldom butted or tied off. But then again I am sinking them into the lawn to secure them. If I am working with the ladder on concrete or blacktop I have someone butt it for me. My answers have nothing to do with fear of working on ladders or my comfort level. It has entirely to do with my knowing what falling 20 feet to the concrete will do when your ladder kicks out.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Ideally, yes someone footing the ladder.

    I'd have no qualms going up a ladder without someone footing it. Some folks are more comfortable operating off a ground ladder then others. Not a slam, just a statement of fact.
    So true, when I was a carpenter we spent hours each day up and down ladder with no footers, not tie off, carrying awkward loads. I'm not saying you shouldn't have them footed when and where you can, but it really comes down to your comfort level and the amount of time you spend throwing and climbing ladders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post

    None of the FDs I have EVER been on send people to do ladder raises by themselves, especially for a rescue or VES. I am sorry that your FD is critically short handed and this is not a what if, but reality, situation for you.
    Really? Single wall ladder raises are two man jobs? You guys must truly be more fortunate than most of us, as it seems single raises and climbs are quite common in very large "well staffed" FD's. Not saying it's the best case scenario, but given the number of tasks at hand and the priorities, extra hands are rare.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deluge059 View Post
    How does it work if you're throwing ladders on concrete? The VES ladder is "technically" not at the proper climbing angle, so wouldn't there be an issue if you have it on concrete?
    As was already mentioned: Ideally you'd have someone foot the ladder if it was placed on concrete. Short of that you could put it at a steeper angle so it doesn't slip, or tie it off to something.

    I guess you could also try to jam a pike end of a tool or RR spike into the driveway but that would be time consuming and tough if it was concrete and not asphalt.

    I'm probably overthinking, but what about the rubber pads we use for extrication on highways? They're to keep the high-lift or struts from slipping.. could be used for a ground-ladder as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    Really? Single wall ladder raises are two man jobs? You guys must truly be more fortunate than most of us, as it seems single raises and climbs are quite common in very large "well staffed" FD's. Not saying it's the best case scenario, but given the number of tasks at hand and the priorities, extra hands are rare.
    I agree. We have 5-man trucks here. Two trucks on every box alarm and an additional truck on the working fire dispatch. We still throw ladders alone. That is expected right out of rookie school. It's just faster. Each truck throws 3-5 ladders for every fire. Most are just there in case needed for egress, but having 2-3 people throw each ladder for 5 ladders would waste time and personnel.

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    Yeah, if you can't throw a roof ladder and work from it by yourself when you need to then you need to reevaluate your skill level. It is a basic skill.

    And in response to the question about what happens if the ladder falls with you and a kid on it, I would rather the ladder fall half way down than stand on the ground and watch the kid burn while I was waiting for someone to come foot my ladder. How rediculous.

    I know it is hard to believe for some of you, but some of us may still be riding alone on a truck in the smaller VFDs. If I pull up alone and have someone hanging out a window, the ladder gets thrown and I am going up it.
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