1. #1
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    Default Water Tower Climb

    Anyone ever climb a water tower?
    We are climbing one as an exercise/training session.

    I have not done one before, and the guys say its one straight ladder all the way up. I believe it is inside of the tower.

    Just curious as to if anyone has done this before and what it was like.
    Last edited by Scooter88; 04-18-2011 at 07:50 PM.

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    Haven't climbed one, but I've been around 'em enough.

    Ladder inside or outside depends on the tower.

    Elevated tanks on legs will have the ladder on one of the legs.

    Elevated tanks on pedestals will have it inside.

    What I call standpipes (tank is same width bottom to top) will have a ladder on the outside.

    Any more the ladders will be inside a cage beyond a certain point. Or not.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    I climbed a water tower a number of years ago with the Department. Somehow, someone thought it was a good idea to have the FD "Clean" out the inside of the tank using the engine.......SO, off we went...

    IT IS a STRAIGHT up climb, well the inside laddered pedestal ones anyway....climbing it in Bunker Gear is an absolute nightmare, climbing it in gear while humping up hose straight up is even worse....

    There were rest "stops" along the way up...sorta like a swing out stool to kinda sit/rest on...pretty sure they will all have the safety fall arrester system as well.......it's a damb long climb straight up.....I found the worst part was trying to get released from the fall arrester while standing on VERY thin seeming metal framing around the entery hole in the walkway.....then up a crappy homemade 2x4 ladder into the actual tank itself to "wash it out"..

    We did this in early March ...it was DAMB cold....and after being soaked in the tank, climbing down the freezing cold metal ladder was a chore...kept freezing to it.lol....

    hope that helps..it'll sure let ya know if your afraid of hieghts or not..climbing on the INSIDE of something just somehow seems "different" and not right..it;s a different sensation.....

    cheers...

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    Try to find a safety harness whose line goes to the chest instead of the waist.

    You can find them through sailing dealerships.

    Bring a note from your doctor and get out it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jam24u View Post
    Try to find a safety harness whose line goes to the chest instead of the waist.

    You can find them through sailing dealerships.

    Bring a note from your doctor and get out it.
    call in with anal glocoma? (can't see your a** coming into work that day)


    all the towers in my area have ladders on the outside, and every one of them looks like one LONG clime. something i'd hate to do in full turnout. good thing i guess would be you wouldn't be lugging up SCBA gear as i don't think that would all fit though the safty cage.

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    What training are they trying to accomplish? The ladders are straight up. Usually there is a place to rest just before going through the area with water. This part of the climb is through a tube. Fall protection should be used on the whole climb. It is usually upwards of 160'. We use water towers to train high angle rescue.

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    TIE OR DIE.

    Osha requires 100% tie off while climbing towers, including water towers. That means, as you climb, you are required to be tied off.

    This is accomplished by either a safety climb, either a rail or cable that a special harness or clip rides along, or by the use of two hooks, such as rebar hooks. You clip off, climb, clip off, unclip the first, climb, hook off, unhook the second, etc.

    http://www.safetybriefs.org/fall-pro...hooks-and-you/

    Harnesses.

    The days of the leather belt with a couple of big eyes are gone. This was commonly called a linemens belt. http://www.jharlen.com/seeallbelts.html They are NOT approved for climbing towers/water towers.

    http://www.petzl.com/us/pro/vertical...s-0/navaho-bod

    Is a good harness.

    The tower industry is very dangerous. Just because we drive BBT (A blue version of a BRT) does not mean that we are any less prone to falling. Just had a couple die last week.

    Once you are at your destination on the tower, you must STAY tied off.

    Tie or Die.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RollerDJ View Post
    call in with anal glocoma? (can't see your a** coming into work that day)


    all the towers in my area have ladders on the outside, and every one of them looks like one LONG clime. something i'd hate to do in full turnout. good thing i guess would be you wouldn't be lugging up SCBA gear as i don't think that would all fit though the safty cage.
    If for some reason I needed turnouts when I got to the top, I would do a rope lift....

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    I climbed our 100,000 gallon pedastal style watertower to change the light bulbs on top. My brother was the DPW employee at the time and had an incredible fear of heights so he hired me to do it for him.

    There was a door at the base of the pedastal that opened and led to a ladder that went straight up to the base of the actual water tank. When you got to the bottom of the water tank that had a tube roughly 3 feet across leading through the tank to the hatch on top of the tower. To me that was the only kind of creepy part about climbing up the tower, realizing that on the other side of that tube was roughly 80,000 gallons of water waiting to crush or drown me! I got to the top, unlatched the hatch, climbed up on the top of the tower sat down and changed the bulbs. The view was amazing. Climbed back in on the ladder closed the hatch and climbed back down.

    In my mind, value for training? Almost zero. It is just another ladder, mounted vertically. Perhaps to check claustrophobia while climbing in the tube, but their are far safer ways to do that.
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    Actually had a water tower fire with people trapped. A company was taking down an old water tower (golf ball on a tee style). Small opening at ground level to get inside. Employees built a wooden platform about 25' up from ground to hold supplies like acetylene and oxygen for cutting. Employees were cutting at the top. Sparks fell to platform and started platform on fire. Acetylene hoses melted and created more fuel. One employee at very top of tower unable to climb down due to amount of smoke coming out of hatch he was standing in. Second employee just below water area where there was another hatch. Both positions higher than 100' tower ladder. PPV took some of the heat out and gave a clear path for employees to come down while fire extinguishment continued. Both employees took off yelling something about never climbing a water tower again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Northern Lights FF View Post
    someone thought it was a good idea to have the FD "Clean" out the inside of the tank using the engine
    No doubt observing all confined space procedures...

    climbing it in Bunker Gear is an absolute nightmare
    What rocket scientist thought bunker gear was a Good Idea(TM) for this task?

    pretty sure they will all have the safety fall arrester system as well
    They had better -- and prior training on how to use it.
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    Well it was a good time! Was about 200 feet straight up, inside ladder.
    Cat walk to a second ladder going to the roof at about the 160 foot mark.
    Had a really good harness that glides with the rail on the ladder. No issues other than a bit sore the morning after!

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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    No doubt observing all confined space procedures...



    What rocket scientist thought bunker gear was a Good Idea(TM) for this task?



    They had better -- and prior training on how to use it.


    I guess I was kinda understating how long ago that was...almost 17 years ago now.......

    To be honest, If I remember rightly it was our Platoon Chief that gave the "in Bunker Gear" order...

    In all honesty and hindsight...I would NEVER do that again, and certainly NOT in the situation, gear etc that we did.......

    The foolishness of youth ......and yeh, we got a 5 minute "this is how to use the fall arrester" lecture before we went up...that was it........

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