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  1. #1
    Forum Member
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    Dec 2001
    Florence KY

    Question Aerials venting windows.....

    In a discussion with my crew, we were wondering how many departments out there use their aerial device (quint, stick, etc.) to ventilate windows? I know of only a couple of departments that do it, but I would be afraid of messing up the pretty orange paint on the tip for the owners of said apparatus (citizens, chief, mayor, etc).

    Any ideas, or input? Justifications for or against?

    Thanks for the discussion.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2000


    Why not use the aerial to vent windows? My department uses the aerial in such manner religiously. Why waste the time to throw the ladder and then climb to the top, break the window out, climb back down, move the aerial only to repeat the process? And the sentence about messing up the pain, come on are your firetrucks there for parades or to put out fires? In my experiences I have found that if done correctly there is no damage to the ladder! Do it and don't worry about the orange paint!

  3. #3
    Member Chopper Lover's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Montgomery County, Maryland Local 1664

    Default Ladder Locks OFF

    I am not going to get into the pro's and con's of this aspect. All I can say is the aerial is like any other tool... Use it as you need to with a touch of common sense. From there... You are on your own.

    BUT, if you do it make sure your ladder lock is off.

    Nothing worse than going through a window, hitting a ceiling and having the ladder lock clink into place and not allow the ladder to retract. Then, you are stuck!

    I haven't had it happen to me, but I have seen it happen. It was a very hairy few minutes until they got it unlocked...
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  4. #4
    Senior Member shammrock54's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001


    The aerial is a piece of equipment, and its a hell of a lot cheaper to buy a can of orange rustoleum paint than to explain why you lost a house or a crew member trying to take out a window w/a ground ladder or a FF climbing the aerial just to punch out a window. If your understaffed, arent we all @ times, this is a simple way to save manpower for the interior attack. I wouldnt do it if i had the manpower but its one of those practices that when the situation calls for it it CAN be done, much like he old grabbing the cop and telling him to watch the tank level lights and when the last light is left start doin chin ups on the airhorn, because u and ur engine company are in the building.
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
    New England FOOL
    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  5. #5
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000


    We don't, then again our buildings usually don't need "aerial tip venting" plus an aerial is a 25-30 year investment in my town.

    I really don't worry about the $3 can of flourescent orange paint.

    Now, the Ladder testing I worry about. Must really do a number on the ladder if one side grabs something solid...


    The all time "What the F*ck" I've seen of a aerial being used to vent was by a yahoo department. I know their aerial ladder isn't tested (for that matter, it sat outside in New England weather for a couple years before they bought it). Came across their house fire scene...and they for whatever reason decided to vent the skylight with the aerial.

    By dropping the aerial down on the skylight.

    Well, trying to anyway. They weren't perfectly perpindicular with the skylight, and each time they dropped (yes, many, many times) the aerial, one side hit the frame.

    And I watched the ladder twist each time. Over, and over. Didn't break the skylight. Just twist the ladder...you know, the thing you trust with your life when you climb it, the one you trust not to fail when flowing a ladder pipe...

    Finally someone started to climb up with an axe, at which point a Chief looked up, and told them to come down...the fire was knocked down and no further venting was needed by this point.

    If your gonna vent with an aerial, at least exercise a minimum of common sense folks!

  6. #6
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!

    Default Aerials venting windows....

    The following is an excerpt from John Norman's "Fire Officer's Handbook of Tactics, 2nd Edition, Chapter 7, Ladder Company Operations, page 172 published by Fire Engineering/PennWell...

    One final word on aerials and windows. Aerials make excellent ventilation tools, especially when manpower is at a premium. The aerial operator can do initial venting of almost all windows within reach of the ladder from the turntable. All the operator has to do is put the tip of of the aerial through the top pane of glass and then lower the ladder, breaking the sash and the bottom pane. The operator should take care not to overextend the ladder, nor attack any steel framed windows, such as casement windows, which could damage the ladder. In addition, the actions cited above (extend through, then lower) should be the only actions permitted. never allow the ladder to be rotated into a window, since this can cause damage to the ladder and/or result in the ladder wedging into the opening.

    My take on this...you have to know the buildings in your district, ie., preplanning. Using the aerial to vent the windows for a fire in a 2.5 story wood frame might not be a problem, but using the aerial to vent the widows at the neighborhood elementary school might! Another thing to consider is if the windows are made of glass or Lexan.

    If the tip of the aerial is going to be used to vent windows, the ladder operator should also be in complete turnout gear and watch out for broken glass sliding down the rails towards the operator on the turntable...I hate filling out injury reports!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  7. #7
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Northern, NJ


    OK so the pretty orange spray paint is no big deal, it's stocked in our Engineers workshop, but how about the expensive automatic nozzle mounted on the end of the ladder?

    Are you going to put that into the window as well and risk damaging it? Just a question. I know in alot of cases the particulars of the situation dictate your actions and there is no be all and end all blanket policy, but just another thing to consider.

  8. #8
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    In a van down by the CT River!


    My other department (not Broad Brook) has used the ladder as a ventilation tool. Hey, if you know what you are doing and don't cause damage (except for paint) then more power to ya! If you are not a good aerial operator, then maybe you shouldn't attempt it.

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Wheaton IL


    I would be hesitant unless we had an urgent need and we were manpower short. I guess it would depend on the ladder, steel vs aluminum. Our old Pirsh ladder needed some costly repairs becausee of damage to the tip. If the ladder was steel I might feel more comfortable but only in an emergency.

    Many trucks have so much stuff on the tip that you would probably damage something. I don't know too many chiefs that would be happy replacing lights or whatever damaged at a routine fire. Just because someone didn't want to climb the main.

    Their are many things we do, like placing ladders in a tower bucket, that aren't recomended but will work in a pinch. I would ask yourself "why" prior to risking a piece of equipment by misusing it. If it is a life or death emergency, then go for it.

  10. #10
    Forum Member
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    Jun 2001
    Pacific Northwest, WA, USA


    To all,

    As has already been pointed out, the aerial ladder is a TOOL to be used just like all the other tools we carry on our trucks. When used correctly, the aerial is a wonderful ventilation tool. The chauffeur can take out a whole row/floor of windows (if necessary) by himself, thus freeing up the rest of the crew for other assignments.

    ADSN/WFLD brings up a good point, namely all the sh*t which has lately been placed at the tip of the aerial (such as spotlights, ladder pipe, radio equipment, ladder pipe controls, etc.) This has been a pet peeve of mine for a while now. The tip of the ladder is a tool, not a launching platform for the space shuttle. Keep the fancy gadgets off the tip.

    If you want spot lights, locate them further down the ladder. The ladder pipe should store on the bed section, capable of being deployed at the tip if necessary. Ladder pipe controls (i.e. a joystick) belong at the turntable not the tip. And all the other junk should be removed as well.

    I may be "old fashioned" but an aerial ladder is an entry, egress, rescue and ventilation tool.

    Regards to all,
    Jim Boyle (aka 1261Truckie)

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Default Venting with Aerial

    We do it any chance we get.....check out the 3 window frames hanging off the end of the stick (below).
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    "Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends."

  12. #12
    Member SquadHog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Urban East Hogville


    I thought everyone used the stick to take out windows when necessary. This is a proven tactic that can save lives and is a fairly routine event in most departments that I am aware of.

    Damage to the aerial should not be a problem if the chauffeur has been properly trained. As 1261 Truck suggested, if the rig has fancy automatic nozzles and lights right on the tip maybe it should be modified with more aggressive tactics in mind. As for the messing up the pretty paint job...HUH???

    15 Truck: Nice job.

    There is a training topic on this, right here on Firehouse.com: Truck Company Fireground Operations

    Venting with an aerial ladder:

    1. Position and sequence
    -Turntable can be spotted for maximum effectiveness
    -When wind blowing across face of building and exposures located close to downwind side, turntable should be spotted just upwind of closest exposure
    -If building relatively wide, apparatus should be positioned closer to center of building
    -Window furthest downwind should be opened first and ladder worked back into wind
    -If next lower floor also to be opened with ladder, top floor should first be opened completely

    2. Knocking out windows
    -First step in knocking out double hung window is to extend ladder tip through upper section
    -Ladder should be extended far enough to push away obstructions
    -After tip extended into upper section, ladder should be lowered to break through window frame and glass in lower section
    -Extend ladder tip through top center of picture window and then lower to sill to clean out most glass
    -Operator must constantly observe ladder tip to make sure proper penetration into window and be able to retract promptly if it becomes engulfed in flame
    -Be extremely careful not to damage ladder while using for venting
    -If ladder is extended too far into window, it might jam into ceiling and get stuck
    -Ladder can be damaged if operator tries to break through window frame made of steel or some other strong material
    -If window must be approached from acute angle, only inside truss should be used to break glass
    -Precautions must be observed when narrow windows are being knocked out
    -Ladder tips should never be forced through opening

    3. Safety
    -Large amounts of glass and debris will fall to ground
    -Shards of glass and chunks of debris can slide down ladder
    -In strong winds, shards of glass can scale good distance - know building is being vented and stay clear of immediate area
    -Timing especially important if windows over entrances must be knocked out
    -Crews caught unexpectedly in shower of glass and debris should keep heads down and arms close to sides - do not look up and move close to wall, seek protection in doorways and under overhangs, and proceed when safe.
    Last edited by SquadHog; 02-28-2002 at 12:12 PM.
    "Go ugly early."

  13. #13
    Senior Member apatrol's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Houston, TX


    Very bad idea....I dont care how often your ladder is re-certified all it takes is one stress factor and the next fire fighter on the tip could have a long fall...Anybody know if any manufacturer will honor warranty work on a ladder used in this manner? If man power is at that much of a premium you probably dont need to be doing interior ops... Hust my two cents.....bad bad idea!

  14. #14
    Forum Member HF&R_H28's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002


    do it the smart way (if you have a good pitcher) buy a box of golf balls

  15. #15
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    Do what ever it takes to get the job done as long as you do more good than damage whatever you do is ok.

    As for the paint, well i wouldnt even repaint it i like it looking all beat up, makes us look like we actually do something, LOL.

    but if you are that worried abouot just carry a brick with you on the truck, works great.

    How ever you do it truck work is tops

  16. #16
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Florence KY

    Thumbs up good discussion.....

    Thanks to everyone that has posted! I especially liked the picture with the window frames hanging off the tip.....makes me think that could be me some day!!!! I also like the idea of golf balls, never could hit those titaniums very well, so I have found a use other than paper weights!

    I agree with the notion that there is too much stuff on the tips these days....we have a ladder strobe (because of fed regulations since we are next to an airport.....so they say), a cord reel, and 2 spot lights. We were looking for a place to put a small refrigerator, so the cord reel on the tip should power it up nicely !!!!!

    Any other ideas on ladder use, or suggestions????

    Keep it fun, and safe!!!

  17. #17
    Forum Member LACAPT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    LA Can.


    Can't say as I have ever heard of a manafacturer condoning the use of a ladder to be used as a venting tool. Haveing said that, Squadhogs post has all the info on how to do it the right way and if done this way I can see that it will work. I do have some reservations on using a $640,000 rig to punch out windows because of all the unknown and unseen vairables that may be present. One of my biggest concerns would be doing structural damage possibly causing a wall collapse. We have a 75' E-ONE with 2 man pods at the tip so window venting for us is not possible using the tip.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber F52Westside's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000


    Seems like a number of years ago there was a pic floating around of a FDNY aerial that had been used for venting and it ended up catching too much heat and twisted.

    We did not create the problem. We are just there to fix it.
    Stay Safe & Bring 'em Home!
    Eddie C.
    I.A.F.F. Local 3008

    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and not that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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