1. #1
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    Default Ground Ladder Question

    1. What is the benfit of using "truss-type" ground ladders as opposed to "pumper-type" ground ladders (using Alco-Lite terminology)?

    2. Who makes the best ground ladders and why?

    3. What are current thoughts on aluminum vs. fiberglass vs. wood?

  2. #2
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    Default One answer...

    I would definately NOT buy wood ladders.

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    Don't now who makes the best ladders but leave the wooden ones to the utility companys, don't want that sucker burning up when yer half way up or down.

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    I don't know since we only have plain aluminum ladders (non-truss)........... but, aren't the truss style supposed to be lighter? And I concur....... stay away from wood.........

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    Now, I've never used wooden fire service ladders. The only ones I have experince with are from refinishing them to hang on a wall.

    But John Mittendorf in his book and some articles offers some compelling arguments for wooden ladders.

    Bou are you familiar with what I am talking about? Are you able to expand on it? I honestly don't see many up here.

    As for burning up...they actuall would perform better under fire conditions than metal as the metal would suddenly fail whereas the wooden ones would slowly loose strengh as it burned...much like the differences beween Heavy timber constuction and lightweight metal.

    FTM-PTB

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    The ol Truck 791 has them on it .....and I would say they are heavier, not lighter.......they also appear to be bigger than a regular ground ladder.
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    Truck 1 for Poudre Fire Authority (Fort Collins, CO) has a wooden ladder. I believe it is 16' or 18'. I asked why and they said they use it in non-fire situations when they need to get near electrical equipment for some reason and even then, they would hesitate to use it. Most guys said they've seen it used once, if at all.

    I don't work for PFA, so this information may be outdated or incorrect, it's just what I remember when I rode a couple times a year ago.

    Eric

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    We used Duo-Safety wooden truss ground ladders on all of old aerial trucks for years. Each year, the members would refinish them in quarters. The later aerial truck ground ladders were aluminum.

    I was in a Truck Company as a Firefighter, Lieutenant and as a Captain over the years I was in a company. Not one time did I ever see a wooden ground burn as members were operating on them.

    Aluminum are Excellent conductors of electricity! Plus the get very warm out the in sun. Do not put them near hot electrical lines. Actually wood ladders will conduct electricity too!

    The weights on each type for each size are about the same. Less maintenance with the aluminum ladders.

    Since we changed our operations and did away with true truck companies, all our apparatus now have aluminum.

    Ther are several top makers of fire department ground ladders. Acco-Lite and Duo-Safety come to mind.

    If you are in a Truck Company, proper name by the way, always throw at least one or more ground ladders at all incidents. Good practive plus it may be necessary for members to use to get off a roof or out an window quick!




    Stay Safe & Well out there.....

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    I was under the impression that truss lassers were lighter, but straight from Duo-Safety
    Solid Beam Aluminum Ladders 35' 2 section 114# 3 section 129#
    Aluminum Tubular Rail Fire Ladders 35' 2 section 153# 3 section 179#

    I did notice that they don't make a solid 50' but it does come in truss. Although they are rated for the same weight the truss may be stronger?

    ALCO-LITE truss and solid ladders are about the same weight
    ALCO doesn't make 50' solid ladders, just truss

    Fiberglass is non conductive when well maintained and at liest from ALCO-LITE doesn't add a ton of weight.

    We use aluminum because of its durability and ease of maintenance.

    As for who is better I've used both ALCO and Duo-Safety and they were about the same

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    used wood on our old truck
    and aluminum on current truck,

    sure hope we get the wood ones
    back when we get a new truck

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    Some random thoughts:

    Most fiberglass ladders are prone to UV deterioration in sunlight and most fluorescent lighting.

    The idea behind a truss ladder is that you remove the metal that is not providing structural support and wind up with a lighter ladder. This is in theory, of course, and it may not hold up with real world examples due to differences in design between manufacturers or styles.

    Wood ladders are becoming rare although I think L.A. still uses them. If I'm not mistaken, they make their own. I have to say that the ones I've seen were beautiful, though they may have been for show only.

    If you want to know how to keep things electrically insulated, talk to an electrical lineman. As a practical matter it's easier and safer to assume that your ladder is a conductor, regardless of construction.
    ullrichk
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    I have used both wood and aluminum ladders. Both have advantages and disadvantages. The wooden ladder is heavier but is far more sturdy in use. the wooden ladder has better resistance to heat transmission and is far more comfortable to work on when the weather is freezing(your hands dont stick to the metal) Wooden Ladders are also supposed to be non conductive, though in some circumstances I think they will conduct electricity. I have never had a wooden ladder fail on me at a fire but we tested them before use at drills and monthly so any defects were usually found before use at a fire. My view is that the wooden ladder was a better tool on the fireground, but of course there are now fewer companies that make or repair wooden ladders so most depts now go for the aluminum ladders. I guess its also a question of what you are used to using that gives us our preferences

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    The "truss type" are sturdier and less prone to bounce. They are larger and able to be built to longer lengths than the "tubular" constructed ladder. No "truss constructed" ladder I ever carried was lighter though. I've raised a 60' bangor before but that was at a school, I have never seen one on a truck that long before usually only 40'. We used to have some wood ladders on our truck but when we were required to get them tested by an outside source, the ladders were destroyed. When we replaced the ladders with new aluminum ones (we got 3 weeks before the evil tester guy showed up again; you know city purchasing) and when the the guy tested them he destroyed them also. I don't think the department uses him anymore. He probably works for Alcoa.

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    I would say only aluminum, truss type, with out looking at anyother posts. As far as who makes one better, I am not sure!

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