1. #1
    Jeff Hendricks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post convincing comissioners on the need for a ladder truck.

    I have a little problem and could use some experience here. Ive been on a committee, for the past two years, doing speck work on a ladder truck. Now its time to present this work to the commisioners, as well as to convince them that we need a ladder truck. Now, heres my question, what can i say to them that will knock there socks off? Of course we'll tell them that we dont have any elevated master streams within 15 to 20 minutes of our district. The safety it provides firefighters accessing and egressing roof tops. The general need for more ladder trucks in the county for mutual aid type alarms, Not too mention the possible use in high angle or elevated rescue. I can go on, but im looking for ideas from someone that actually has ladder truck experience. Can you give me ideas that im not aware of? Also is there equipment or features on your ladder that you are really glad are there, I.E. we put light masts on our engines and what a profound difference in scene lighting. That type of advice would be nice in case we missed anything in our specs. How do you use your ladder and how do you staff it? Which do you prefer a stick or a tower, and why? I appreciate all responses. Thanks.

  2. #2
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    ISO can be a good reason.

    5 buildings 35' (3 stories) or taller.

    5 buildings 3500gpm needed fire flow or greater.

    5 buildings in any combination of those 2.

    Equipment I'm glad is there:

    No pump panel, just a Fire Comander, foam controls and master guages.

    Focible entry tools are stored in the front bumper.

    All valves are at the point of discharge.

    3" front bumper discharge

    In line foam, but if I were buying new I'd go with CAFS.

    2 deck guns in addition to the ladder pipe.

    750 gallons of water.

    Long rear lay.

    No hose chute, but we can carry 2,000' of 5". We only carry 1,200'

    Rear LD discharge that can be switched into an intake for the ladder pipe just by turning a valve.

    2 additional rear 3" discharges.

    The valves are all exposed, if one starts to leak, any member that can turn a wrench can change it in about 10 minutes.

    The pump and associated controls are behind a roll up door.

    Enough compartment space to hide everything and then some. It's full of ISO's required engine and ladder equipment and a bunch of other stuff (jaws, cutters, rams, extra SCBAs, tool boxes...) and we've got room left over.

    How do we use it?

    The apparatus is set up to handle 99% of our calls from structure fires to rescues.


    The apparatus seats 7 people, we are a VFD, sometimes we fill it sometimes we get 3 or 4.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    One thing to expand on your presentation is the tactical abilities and manpower efficiency of modern aerials and towers.

    Having your master stream elevated, be it on a Ladder, Tower, or Boom, allows it to rapidly move around to cut off and kill the fire. One person operating it from the turntable, 2 people if you have good staffing can deploy 1000gpm where needed when needed while continuing to flow water.

    How many people does it take to reposition a 2.5" never mind a 3/4/5" or dual 2.5" feeding a master stream?

    FDNY's tactic of dropping an aerialscope to groundlevel to cut off fires in strip malls also has application in other buildings and rural areas.

    One fire I was at last year had 1/3 fully involved on arrival, another 1/3 rapidly being involved. After the interior teams withdrew, one of the aerials there dropped down and blew the fire out of the attic and back to the burning section -- that stopped the fire in it's tracks and saved the office space of the company below.

    Similiarly, our new ladder can flow 1000gpm at any elevation or extension, with a 180 degree side to side sweep. That gives us tremendous capability to drop the ladder down and make a cut-off on a rapidly extending fire in a large building or agricultural building, and the flexibility to rapidly move the stream to where it is needed.

    Summary of the above: Allows you to effectively deliver and move a high flow around the fire, with a minimum of manpower.
    We run an Ladder, like it for a little lower profile. Also the next due aerials North and East of us are Towers, to the South is a ladder, and Southeast a Telesqurt...so it makes for a good mix.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Some things that might help you to convince them: First and foremost, truss roofs! It is a safe and efficent way of ventilation. If you can get access toa TIG, have it mounted on the tip with a remote screen to view ares of fire without having a crew inside. (If $$$ permits) Also, if you have a ladder due on an assigment, if it is not there right away, it may become useless. We operated in a small borough and if it wasn't there right away, it wasn't getting in there. We had spec'd out our ladder truck (1998 LTI 75' 1500GPM 450 tank 10 man cab) (replacement) a few years ago and we put a seperate gated discharge on the tip for overhaul. Our crews would vary (VFD) and so would the duties assigned. If manpower was an issues the next pieces' crew would assume ladder duites. We also set a policy that the next apparatus coming, if a qualified driver (for the ladder) was on there, he would assist the initial operator. we ran our ladder first out on structre related calls. This frees up the ladder operator to concentrate on the ladder and the pump operator on pumping. It sounds like your comissioners don't want to spend the money in a needful situation. I would ask them to either go to a simulated call with and without a ladder responding or talk to neighboring fire co's to actually see the benefits. Hope it helps. Good Luck.

  5. #5
    ken janis
    Firehouse.com Guest


    When it comes to Fire Apparatus and Township Budgets be careful. Let me tell you what happen to us in October, 1995- Nov,1997.

    The Fire Company provides volunteer labor for the township fire department. "the township owns the trucks." However, at the time the Fire Chief asked the Supervisors for permission to spec a 75' Quint Ladder Truck. Permission granted. After one year of research the Fire Company presented our findings to the Township. The Supervisors did not believe our findings and stopped any further proceedings. The Township then hired an outside consultent from Baltimore County to review our findings. Buildings, population, current capabilities, hydrants, roadways, etc. $10,000.00 study. 4 months of work. The consultant agreed 100% with our findings (that we did for free) and added even more equipment that was needed to meet NFPA standards. The supervisors again disagreed with the findings. They talked about a second study. Thankfully, calmer heads prevailed and the first study was accempted.

    Now came the money issues. Who is going to pay it. The truck was allowed to go out to bid. The bids came back $100,000.00 over the projected cost. $400,000.00 total. the Township claimed poverty. All the bids got rejected. The Fire Company respeced the truck, out to bid again, $407,000.00 total bid #2.

    Thank GOD for election years! In comes two new members interested in restoring order in the Township and Fire Department. One of them brokers a deal that would allow the Fire Department to get the truck, if the Fire Company would pitch in $200,000.00. But the township would match the amount for future apparatus purchases from this day forth. The Fire Company narrowly passes the motion to pay 1/2 for a township fire truck.

    The truck got delivery 1 3/4 years after it started. At a cost of $107,000.00 more because of delays in awarding the bid for nearly two years.

    The Fire Chief developed health problems and had to retire after 20+ years of volunteer service.

    Two Township officials lost re-elections by land slide margins. One lost a County election by over 5 to 1.

    The Fire Company contributed $200,000.00 of fund raising efforts for a vehicle we have no title over and can't use as collateral for any other loans.

    Number one lesson learned....volunteer fire companies aren't prepared to fight a political war for funds.

    Second lesson learned.... keep it to the facts. Do not let the purchasing of fire apparatus become emotional.

    Third lesson learned... remember the phrase "I volunteer and I vote" They will never forget it.

    Since this event took place. We have not had to pay one cent towards any of the two new fire apparatus since. We are once again purchasing trucks from the Township budget. The fire company fund raising efforts go towards a restoration project of a 1947 Maxim and a complete building renovation project. The membership has grown from 21 members when this started to today of 48 active volunteer firefighters.

    Thanks for your time.
    Ken Janis www.forksfire.com

    ideas expressed & posted in the forum(s) are my own.

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