Are ladder trucks with fire pumps killing ladder company operations?
It is my belief that ladder companies are quite often trying to play catch up on the fire ground. Quite often this is because we can’t get to the scene as fast as an engine (since there are less ladder companies) or because there are not enough truckies on scene to make truck work as quick as stretching a line.
So when a ladder has the luxury of arriving ahead of the engine (I’m not talking several minutes ahead either), why do so many ladder officers want to start stretching lines? It may be because we have too many people in the fire service who believe that if you are not on the nozzle you are not a real firefighter. This has happened for so long that that these same people are now being promoted and instilling this attitude into their new guys. This is a viscous cycle and whether or not you believe it the proof is in the lack of truck work being performed on so many firegrounds nation wide.
The fact is we seldom get the best position on the fireground, between engines, chief’s cars and on street parking by the public. We rarely get the chance to set up for ventilation or forcible entry prior to the first line being stretched. To make things worse, when a ladder company decides to perform engine functions, truck work gets delayed even longer or worse, does not happen at all. So should we leave fire pumps for engine companies or is it possible to get the nozzle jockey mentality out of our ladder companies?