1. #1
    Ken Strausser
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post pros & cons of tower vs. stick

    I'm currently in the process of replacing a 1979 LTI 75' tower ladder with no pump. My suggestion to the company officers is to buy a 100' straight stick. My reasoning is- I can reduce the overall length, increase the ladder reach and stay within a reasonable budget. With a 100'I can reach an elderly highrise that has been built since the last purchase. I'm encountering some tough oppistion on this subject and afraid it could divide some of our "older guys with our younger guys". I've been trained on the tower but think that with different training methods that the stick would be a better advantage for our town. Would like some input from guys who might of had a similar problem or just some advice from people who care.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It's just my opinion but I prefer a straight stick.

    What will your primary use be for this unit? :Rescue, access for vent crews, areal master stream.

    Both communities I work for don't have any true highrise buildings. (tallest building is 7 stories) Our tower is so massive, E-One 105' HD, with a jack spread of some 19+ feet it is hard to set up on many of our streets. And when it is set up that is usually it for the street. We have used it for an areal master stream several times and it preformed well, and is comfortable to work in.

    I have found that navigating the basket with vent tools slows us down somewhat over just climbing a stick.

    People do seem somewhat apprehensive to come down the stick, but it hasn't been a big problem. I have worked on a 110' E-One stick and a 100' Pirsh and liked both. The sticks, I have used, set up on a small footprint, If the cab doors can open then they could set up. They both are faster than the tower, in set up and operation and are more manuverable. Today you can get a remote controlled nozzle on your stick's prepiped waterway so using it for supression is easy also.

    I personally would avoid purchasing a quint. the tank and pump take up a lot of compartment space. The truck should be a tool box on wheels able to preform most fireground support work as well as many ordinary rescues. And as a final note, don't skimp on the ground ladders. I don't care who your manufacturer is a few guys can rescue multiple people from a building with ground ladders before the truck is even set up.

    Good Luck and Stay Safe

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have a 100' platform ('98 Pierce), with a 2000gpm pump. I like the platform -- its much more comfortable to be in for long periods of time. It gives you a bigger area to work from and more options when trying to vent the roof. You can place a crew into the upper floors of a building all together and not tired from climbing the ladder.

    However, it is a big truck that takes up a lot of space on the fire ground. And costs more than a straight stick.

    As far as getting a pump? In my area, many of the depts that have ladder trucks have gone with pumps and hose (ours carries 1000' 5", 600' 3", 4 attack lines). This lets the ladder truck lay a supply line if necessary, or even act as the attack pumper.

    Compartment space? We were able to put everything we needed on our tower. Thats partly because our engines carry some of the traditional "truck" stuff like PPV fans, saws, some portable lighting. It works for us -- no need to call the ladder truck to a smoke from cooking call.

    No such thing as too many ground ladders. Just make sure you get the right "mix" that will complement the ladders carried on your engines.

    [This message has been edited by Looper (edited August 28, 2000).]

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My answer is that it depends on your needs and your area. If you are the only truck, then I would recommend the straight stick. It gives you a little for flexibility. If you have access to another stick close by with your mutual aid, then there are advantages for having diverse equipment available. The tower has some advantages and the straight stick has others. I suggest you look at your area and resources and then choose.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Difficult question. Our department operates a 1993 Pierce aerial platform and an older tiller. I really like the aerial platform. When doing roof work it provides a good point to attach to and also some times you can work off the platform without actually getting on the roof. I also have a nice "shelf" to place the saw or tools on while on a pitched roof. (It really irritates the turntable operator when the saw gets dropped in his direction!) Also I don't think I have the strength or skills to have a good chance of getting a victim over a straight stick ladder to the ground. I do think I have a better chance with a platform. Yes it is a big truck. Yes it is strange at first having the platform hanging over the windshield. But once it gets there, it is my favorite aerial device to work on. I don't like the pump and tank on our stick, don't use it very often. I would vote to delete those items if I could do it all over again. Good luck.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Why climb when you can ride?

    I like the tower for a few reasons:
    1. Generally higher tip load at all angles
    2. Stable work platform for venting, placing members in upper floors and master stream ops.
    3. Generally higher water flow capacity
    4. Better for rescue in just about all cases

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I feel that the most suitable ladder is an Arial Platform. I feel this way for several reasons. Most importantly it gives you more options with high angle rescues but more importantly structure fires. The platform offers a great and usually safe area to fight the fire from. There are many options with fighting fire from an arial platform standpoint such as being able have a birds eye view and use this view to get water where it supposed to go..Thats just my opinion..

    First In, Last Out; Never Leave a man Behind!

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You can't honestly determine what you need until you factor in the following issues:
    Needed fire flow (GPM), Offset of structures from the street, Height of buildings, Rescue needs (Fire and Non-Fire), Elevated roadways, Water supply, Other aerials (Both in your own department and neighboring), etc.
    My personnel preference is a Tower Ladder for a "One Truck Co. Town". It offers more flexibility for rescue and suppression along with maximum GPM capabilities. A straight stick is a nice complimenting aerial device to a Tower Co. It offers a little more versatility in terms of capability in one (1) area - Vertival ventilation on pitched roofs. Much easier to work from a straight stick than it is to try and run a saw from a Tower Ladder. Usually the monitor(s) are in the way plus the lights and everything else people want to stick on the platform. If you leave the stick or platform to perform vertical ventilation then its a moot point and I would go with Tower.
    As far as pumps go, you have to determine what your manpower is at fires and what your department has in terms of pumping apparatus. If you have enough pumpers available, you need to know how many actually pull for a fire (Particularly volunteer departments) during any possible time of the day on any day of the week. If you can GUARANTEE, 100% OF THE TIME enough pumpers on the scene to: Supply attack lines on two (2) sides of the structure, Have one (1) Engine Co. whose apparatus is uncommitted and available and one (1) Engine Co. (Preferably a 2000 GPM pumper)to supply the ladder pipe, then I don't think a pump on the rig is necessary. How many departments, paid or volunteer, can guarantee that? Answer-Not as many as you think. With the exception of large departments, most of us can not. If you can't then spec the aerial with a pump. We can't meet those numbers all the time so we made ours a quint. It is 95' E-One Tower w/2000GPM/300GWT/40 Class A foam w/3 preconnects, 800' of 5", 600' of 3" and all Truck Co. tools. Just because we put a pump on it doesn't mean its a pumper. It is our TRUCK CO. with the ability to lay its own line and supply itself when needed. We looked at our area which is 70% industial and commercial and our target hazards. 100,000 + sq foot warehouses (Tiltwall predominantly), 12 Hotels, 1 Large defense contractor complex, 1 College campus, 1 School complex, 1 Retirement community, 10 Apartment/Condo complexes, 4 LARGE shopping centers, Part of the busiest freeway in the Houston area w/no water supply along it, Major railroad track that goes directly to the Port of Houston w/atleast 25 trains a day, Loads of strip shopping centers, 4 large scientific labs (One develops rocket fuel for the space shuttle program), week day population of 250,000 plus a transient population of atleast another 20,000 during the weekdays, scores of gas stations and used car lots and everything else you find in a suburb of the 4th largest city in the country, plus were experiencing dynamic growth and continuing development in terms of construction and roadway improvements and 2 of our 3 neighboring departments currently have staight stick, rear mount aerials. We chose to go with the Tower Ladder because of the above mentioned reasons. We felt that the straight stick didn't offer the versatility we needed. In priority order were our requirements: 1) Firefighter safety 2) Master streams 3) Rescue capabilities (Fire and Non-Fire) and 4) Load rating and operating parameters. These are just some of what we used to help us decide and make what we consider an informed decision. Hope it helps. E-Mail me if you have any questions. Be safe.


    [This message has been edited by STATION2 (edited September 01, 2000).]

    [This message has been edited by STATION2 (edited September 01, 2000).]

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Ken, it looks like you are trying to balance your rescue needs, apparatus size, and budget realities, etc. I think you are on the right track. There has been some very good information in the other replies, but I'm not sure they entirely consider some of the factors that impact your situation. I've operated with 100' RM sticks, 100' RM tower, and a 75' MM AerialScope and I'll give you my take on it.

    I'm not sure if your decision is 100' stick vs. 75' tower or 100' stick vs. 100' tower. Either way, I think that if your dept. has identified a need for a 100' aerial for fire rescue, I think that a dept. has to meet that need within its operational and budgetary limits. From that perspective, a 100' stick or tower can meet that need and by the fact that sticks have been the aerial workhorses for most of busiest city depts, a 100' stick is a very legitimate way to go. The 75' AerialScope was a great truck in my opinion, but if you need 100', 75' isn't an option.

    You mentioned size as part of your thinking. This issue has a lot to due with your community and dept. I served on a suburban dept a few years back that ran a 100' rear mount tower with pump/tank as our only aerial. Our area was primarily residential. In my opinion this truck was a very poor choice. Why? As another post mentioned, a truck should be a tool box on wheels. By far, our fires were single family residential. We couldn't get this truck even close to scene on many incidents which made accessing ground ladders and other equipment very difficult. From my experience operating this type of aerial in residential neighborhoods, this is the wrong truck. So in the case of a single aerial dept with a residential fire risk, I would think long and hard on a 100' tower. If your aerial demand is more non-single family residential,etc. then I think the 100' tower becomes a real option. However, if you still have a single-family risk, make sure your engines are self-sufficient with ground ladders and truck equipment.

    Regarding the quint question, again, I think it is critical to know how the truck is going to be used. We had plenty of pumping capacity with our engines and we absolutely never operated the tower as an initial attack piece. If the truck isn't going to really ever function as a Quint, why go that way? Some of our local depts with towers have speced a pump with no tank - good way to go if you may not always have the pumping capacity available elsewhere. But a 300 GWT on a truck with no initial attack use - doesn't make sense to me.

    As has been mentioned in other replies, it depends a lot on your community. If you need 100' of reach, have a predominantly single family fire risk and need a tool box on wheels, have adequate pumping capacity from other rigs, will never use your aerial for initial attack, and have a budget or other equipment needs to address - I think the 100' stick with no pump/tank is a good balance and right on the money.

    A couple out of the box thoughts: if you want to try to go the tower route and keep the truck shorter, how about 2door/2man cab? Won't get you down to a stick's length, but gets you close. Or how about a 100' Metz tower-ladder -33' long, 40,000 lbs, has a basket and ladder access. And to keep the cost down - work off a std big city spec (a Boston/Chicago ladder, etc.) Maybe you can save some funds by purchasing an already-engineered, higher volume truck.

    Good Luck.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register