1. #1
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    Question Aerial Ladder safety

    Question for discussion:
    Does anyone know off hand the standard or code references that would cover personal climbing aerial ladders or working on turntables.

    It seems exceedingly difficult to maintain fall protection during accent or decent. Ladder belts that are used once in position are fine but don't cover you in motion.

    Scott

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    Scott -

    Most fall arrest systems that are used on ladders (READ:fixed ladder) attach to the center of the ladder; and allow an ascender to be mounted from the center of the user worn harness. If the individual were to slip or fall while ascedning the ladder - the ascender locks - arresting the fall.

    I personally don't know of any systems that are designed to work on a fire service aerial device. Remember that our aerial devices are composed of multiple "flys" - and these flys nest together. As the ladder extends- the rungs line up-- you would have to be able to disengage your ascender - and attach it to the next fly, then the next one, and so on...

    I understand you concern - for the safety of the firefighter while climbing. But - I think it would take some serious engineering to overcome the difficulty's posed by a fire service aerial.

    just my humble opinion.
    Marc

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    Scott,

    Interesting issue. I think your comment sums it up nicely. "exceedingly difficult"

    I'm not sure but it seems like you are leaning towards looking for something along the lines of OSHA standards, similar to those that govern the roofing or sign industry.

    There are NFPA and OSHA standards for fall protection on turntables and raised platforms(can't remember the specific #'s though....however for climbing an fire service aerial???

    The dynamic nature of the fireground along with the realistic time constraints, purpose and manpower have until now prevented any push to change the current situation. Plus I haven't seen a rash of injuries and fatalites caused from falls from aerials. Some things one could do is teach the proper method of climbing with the following:

    -Climbing with no more than two tools. (ie hook and halligan or halligan and saw)
    -Proper mounting and dismounting procedures.
    -Use a carrying strap with the saw.


    While it might work for accending what about decending with a untrained civilian. Would you have to put them in some form of a harness to just to "safely" remove them? Seconds often count when rescuing people hanging out windows and on fire escapes. Also if the accender and decender get stuck what then? Do all operations halt?

    Perhaps the best solution for you would be plenty of drilling. ie climbing up and down many times at different heights and angles to promote proficency.

    Also Tower Ladders offer such safety in that there is no need for a ladder with the bucket on the end of the boom.

    Best of Luck,

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 11-11-2003 at 05:59 PM.

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    Being a firefighter is inherently a dangerous job. WE have come a long way in making it safer for us to do but I don't think that we will ever be able to eliminate all the dangers of the job. I don't want to sound like I'm bashing safety measures , because I'm not but things like climbing an aerial ladder are just part of the dangers of the job and most likely always will be. Like Fred said, training may be the only way to try and avoid such incidents like falling from an aerial ladder.

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    Use a harness and system for training the new guys or for special drills. To date I have found no standard that covers you while climbing, nor should their be for the above reasons.

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    Easy. Have a rope run from a retractable drum to the tip. As the ladder extends, so does the rope. Use your ascender on it. They've had electrical cord setups on aerials like this for a long time. Our 2001 uses a cable that is snaked through the ladder itself though, no retractable drum on it.

    Is it realistic? For anything but training, I'd probably say no. Might cause a trip hazard, might cause people to do unsafe things... I dunno. Interesting question though.
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    Now, before everyone jumps on me - I know this isn't the most practical situation for the Fire Service, but....

    Has anyone tried Access Lanyards? CLICK HERE TO SEE ONE.

    These are used extensively by linesmen and other workers when accessing heights with no installed fall arrest system.

    For those using ropes and ascenders, BEWARE the dangers of rope shear. Kernmantle rope has been proven to shear when using an ascender and they are exposed to falls of more than 600kg in force....
    Luke

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    Several companies make these, mostly for tower and pole climbing.

    My only concern with these is the you have to hold the clips, and alternate them rung to rung, clipping and unclipping on your way up so that one is always clipped in as you're moving the other.

    A system where you just clipped in once for the whole ride would be more appealing to me.
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    I am going to have to agree with firefiftyfive --

    Firefighting is an inherently dangerous job- While I know that great strides have been made that make our job much safer- I don't think that there is a way to completely remove the danger from firefighting.

    Resq14 - While I see that you are thinking of a possible solution - I just don't think that what you speak of is too practical. Those reels that you speak of that provide electrical power and sometimes compressed air to the bucket of an aerial are under little to no load. and the tensioning devices in them serve only to retract the amount of hose that has been played out.

    These reels are common on the side of Aerialscopes - with their box boom construction, they usually has 2 of them on the side, one for air, and the other for electricity.

    When I stopped by Aerialscope's booth at ICHEIF's in Dallas - the aerial that they had there didn't have any of the slip ring reels that you normally see. The sales rep showed me their latest feature. They are now offering the option of a 'Cat Track System'

    They can fit more cables, hoses, etc... in this metal link raceway that parallels the aerial - so there are more options that are available in the platform.

    Good idea -- but I don't see a way to make it happen practically....
    Marc

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    Member - IACOJ
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    -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.

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    My only concern with these is the you have to hold the clips, and alternate them rung to rung, clipping and unclipping on your way up so that one is always clipped in as you're moving the other.
    Yes Grasshopper that's why I said in my post that these weren't the best option for FF's...

    I don't think there is an easy answer to this problem, but for people to sit back and say "it's a dangerous job and we can't do much about it", concerns me.

    The manufacturers of these vehicles have a responsibility to provide a solution for the end user (US- the FF's!. We purchase their vehicles to perform a task, and more importantly, to perform a task safely. Has anyone approached them? Does OSHA specify anything?
    Luke

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