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Thread: Fear of heights

  1. #1
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    Default Fear of heights

    Alright fellas I need some advice. I have never been a big fan of ladders or heights. A single story roof isnt that bad for me just getting off and on the ladder gives me the jeebees. They higher the climb the worse it is. Its to the point where i lock up and cant move. I have a ventilation practical for our local academy coming up on an old 2.5 story steep roof farm house. I told my chief already that there is know way I can get on that roof from a ladder. Any tips to help me get past that?


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    Practice practice practice

    Till it becomes second nature
    Do the practice under non stress conditions just put the ladder up and climb

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    I agree with fire49, but make sure that either someone is butting the ladder for you or tie it off so it doesn't kick out on you. Nothing will shake your confidence more than having the ladder unstable under you as you climb.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 12-14-2013 at 05:35 PM.
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    I used to despise heights but have gotten comfortable with them over time. The big thing for me in the beginning was to keep my mind on the task at hand, vs how high I was off the ground. In your case, try to focus on sounding the roof or cutting the hole.

    Aint nothing to it but to do it....and you can.

    Good luck bud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvanorder View Post
    Alright fellas I need some advice. I have never been a big fan of ladders or heights. A single story roof isnt that bad for me just getting off and on the ladder gives me the jeebees. They higher the climb the worse it is. Its to the point where i lock up and cant move. I have a ventilation practical for our local academy coming up on an old 2.5 story steep roof farm house. I told my chief already that there is know way I can get on that roof from a ladder. Any tips to help me get past that?
    All right. Someone's gotta ask. How steep is the roof? 2 1/2 story house sounds like it would have a pretty good pitch on it. What are you supposed to do when you get up there? Will there be a roof ladder involved? Are you supposed to climb to the peak and work from there? Saw? Axe?

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    It is suppose to be training

    Hopefully there is training done prior to sending someone up
    Plus someone coaching/safety as it goes

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    My biggest fear is the ladder moving. Tied off or someone healing it doesnt matter still cant get past it. on a normal pitched roof once im up there its not a problem. Its the going up and down the ladder and the going from ladder to roof and roof to ladder that really get me. We did a little bit of ladder work over the past week but nothing higher than 10 feet and that still got me. As for the roof on the 2 1/2 story its an old farm house up here in the snow belt so while i havent seen it yet just my knowledge of the area tells me it almost has to have a pretty steep roof on it. Thanks for all the advice. I have been working on climbing at the station

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvanorder View Post
    My biggest fear is the ladder moving. Tied off or someone healing it doesnt matter still cant get past it. on a normal pitched roof once im up there its not a problem. Its the going up and down the ladder and the going from ladder to roof and roof to ladder that really get me. We did a little bit of ladder work over the past week but nothing higher than 10 feet and that still got me. As for the roof on the 2 1/2 story its an old farm house up here in the snow belt so while i havent seen it yet just my knowledge of the area tells me it almost has to have a pretty steep roof on it. Thanks for all the advice. I have been working on climbing at the station
    You did "a little bit of ladder work over the past week" and "nothing higher than 10 feet". You were obviously uncomfortable even at 10 feet. I think this comes down to you just not being ready for this "ventilation practical". You've told your chief you can't do it. So don't. Keep practicing and you WILL get more comfortable. You may never be a superstar on ladders or at heights but you can become functional over time. I don't think someone who "locks up" and doesn't believe they can do it should be tested. There is only so much coaching and safety that can be provided. It will still come down to you, alone, on the ladder, trying to dismount to a roof. Safety dictates that you wait until you are more comfortable with the evolution.
    I asked in my previous post exactly what this "practical" entailed. The reason I asked is that there may be nothing practical about it. If this 2 1/2 story farmhouse is anything like I'm picturing, it has a pretty steep pitched roof. You also said you think it will. I'm picturing a roughly 20x40 wood frame house with an "A" shaped roof over attic area. There are almost always windows (single or possibly double) in each gable end whether attic is finished or not. Venting these windows usually will relieve the area of a lot of smoke and heat, especially if there is any flat ceilinged area. Even a team of two working with a roof ladder can only make a modest sized opening with any real speed. The additional risk may not be worth the reward.

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    get you a job helping a roofer
    ?

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    Had a good talk with the chief yesterday. The reason I was caught off guard for this is because it was a late addition to or fire academy. It will not affect my final for passing FF1 and FF2 but its just an extra. I told her I want to try to do but I dont think I can. Also to add another twist I just happen to live in the snow belt. So now we are climbing on a slippery steep high as can be roof. Fun. Thanks for all the advice you guys have given.

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    Don't feel too bad about not liking ladders. I myself hate them with a passion. I'll rock climb or do tree work hanging from a rope all day long, but get me on a ladder and I hate it. Fire service ladders aren't nearly as bad as regular ladders since they are usually more sturdy, but it doesn't take a lot for me to get the 'ol Elvis leg going if I'm on a ladder for a while. I'll do what I have to do but I don't stay any longer than that.

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    Maybe not a good idea to say I cannot do that

    More appropriate to say I need more training on this item

    Sometimes your words catch up with you

    Not sure if you want to oh career or not

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Maybe not a good idea to say I cannot do that

    More appropriate to say I need more training on this item

    Sometimes your words catch up with you

    Not sure if you want to oh career or not

    My fear of ladders has been a struggle all my life. Also the fear of heights. I have been trying t overcome it but it still gets the best of me. Even hunting I have to have someone else put up my tree stands and even then i am tied to the tree or stand at 2 points at all times. So when I say I cant its because my mind wont let my body do it.

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    Update time! Just the fact that im typing this means i didnt fall to my death. I was able to get up on the first story roof and run the saw a bit. Not my favorite thing but its a step in the right direction. Couldnt get up on the second story to swing the axe though. That was a bit too much for me. But after talking with me chief later that day our dept always needs more interior guys. Funny how most of them would rather play on the roof. Crazy bats Thanks for all the advice fellas

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    I hated ladders as well and tall bridges. I used to get my wife to drive over the Mighty Mac. When we had to do multistory ladders I was nervous but just kept doing what my instructors told me to do and made it. I actually leg locked for a bit to force myself that I'd be ok. Now they don't bother me as much and have continued to notice my fears have decreased.

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    Excellent answers already given. Keep trying to work through it. Long ago and far away, (1972) on the first morning of the very short 200 hour fire academy, (such as it was) the proctor CA made all us rooks climb up a 100 ladder free standing at about 85-88 degrees. Then the Engineer rotated the ladder one rotation around and back...slowly.

    There were two instructor FFs right below and above us all the way up, rotating and down again. We had to belt in every step going up, rotating and down. Took forever. The Instructor FFs gave us much verbal kind, soft, encouragement. All the rooks had to do this. Nobody failed. I guess they gentle broke us. HB of CJ (old coot) My first post here.

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    So a little update. This week we had our 2 finals for our academy. Been a long 6 months. Our academy has 2 finals. 1st is a 200 question multiple choice test and the 2nd is 12 hands on stations (practical). This past thursday was our written final and think I did pretty good but will know for sure by the end of the week. Our practical was this past saturday and for sure passed that without an issue at all. My biggest fear (ladders) was just about one of the easiest of the 12. Thanks for all the words or advice and encouragement. I look forward moving forward and cant wait for my first call as a fully certified firefighter.

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    Fantastic!!!!

    Yes that fear of the unknown can be big

    You just have to try and understand what you are doing and most of the time you find the worrying is more problem than what you do

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    Congratulations! Believing in yourself is the biggest thing.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Quote Originally Posted by jvanorder View Post
    cant wait for my first call as a fully certified firefighter.
    It's the most fun you can have with your clothes on. Congrats!!

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