Thread: pros/cons

  1. #1
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    Thumbs up pros/cons

    has anyone come across an article on the pros and cons of a tower vs a straight ladder?

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    I haven't seen any articles lately, but this has been discussed MANY times already.

    Look at the menu to the left, it's red, and has little black lines between each selection. The 6th object down says "Search" try that.

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    Yes this has been discussed before 42VTExplorer, but cut a new user some slack.

    dazeoff10,

    You may have some luck with the forum search, but I do remember an article about straight-stick vs platform. I think it was in Fire Engineering, but it has been several years. It wasn't so much a "sticks or platforms suck because . . ." article as it was a guide to considerations over which generally works better in certain situations.

    If you don't have any luck with forum search or FE magazine, you can also go to the National Fire Academy website and check out the Learning Resource Center. The folks there are super nice and are the go-to folks for fire research questions.
    ullrichk
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    perfesser

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

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    thank you both for the info

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    Yes this has been discussed before 42VTExplorer, but cut a new user some slack.
    Heeeey now! It's not like I popped up with that line from WeruJ..

    Y'know the one that goes like,

    "Pardon me sir, but I believe we are all over here!"

  6. #6
    tny
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    Default pros vs cons

    Im going to take a shot at your question and give you my opinion on the attributes of tower ladders/elevating platforms vs aerials (sticks). People have written books on this stuff so Ill keep it short and as generic as possible.

    Im going to utilize an aerial with a 500 lb tip load (in any position wet or dry) in my comparison. The NFPA 2 to1 structural and 1-1/2 to 1 stability factors provide a more than adequate margin of safety. I personally believe the super heavy-duty aerial models (750 to 1000 pound tip load ratings) to be a bit excessive and totally eliminate many of the advantages of the aerial (straight stick). The super-heavy-duty aerials require the same massive octopus like jacking systems that a platform requires minus the safety advantage of the bucket. Some MFGs platform jacking systems are less obtrusive.

    The Tower Ladder/Elevating Platform will also meet minimum NFPA requirements for tip load both wet and dry (500 1000).

    First we need to answer some district/response area questions. You really need to answere these types of questions when determining what type of apparatus best suits your needs.

    Do you currently have a tower ladder/ladder's in your dept? If you do not, how many and how far away from your district/response area are they?

    Whats type of structures do I have in my district/response area? In which and where do the greatest % of our stucture fires occur:

    Singe occupancy or multiple occupancy residential (single family- ranches, cape cods, high ranches, split levels etc. -- 2-1/2 s and 3s -- Queen Anns, Victorians or multi family garden apartments? Whats the set back of these structures?

    Multiple story/family --- apartment buildings 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 floors above ground level.

    Multiple use occupancies first floor commercials (store-fronts with apartments above).

    Strip stores (taxpayers), Malls and Mega-stores.

    Multistory -- retail, office, light or heavy industrial buildings and/or storage mfg facilities.

    What type of setting is my response area? These are my personal definitions but I'm sure you'll understand what I mean.

    Urban narrow congested streets with cars parked on both sides. Structures have short setbacks from the street and are built abutting each other or with narrow alleyways between. May or may not have low to moderate height trees and/or overhead utilities. Retail, commercial and industrial structures are found in close proximity to residential up to and including abutting or above each other.

    Urban/Suburban - found mostly in the North East/MidAtlantic and Midwest (older suburbs built shortly after WWI in close proximity to older cites). Roads are narrow laned congested (cars parked on both sides of streets) lined with trees and power poles. Structures have relatively short setbacks (15-30) from the street. Retail, commercial and industrial structures are found in close proximity to residential, usually not abutting each other. High quantity of strip stores (tax payers) many with apartments above especially in downtown areas. Many single-family structures now illegally converted to multiple occupancies without the required building-safety upgrades (cellar/basement apartments).

    Suburban usually wider streets with larger/longer driveways that usually alleviate the issue of on-street parking. May have buried utility lines/cable or may be installed in rear yards. Structures have moderate to high set backs from the roadway 30 +. Retail, commercial and industrial structures are usually isolated away from residential areas in shopping malls, office/industrial parks. Major roadways are dotted with strip stores usually without apartments above.

    Rural -- out there in the sticks, lots of room. May have quite a bit of unpaved roads/driveways that limit access to residential structures. You usually have to drive to one of the settings listed above to go to work or shopping. There may be some very high hazard facilities both above and below-ground in the middle of that farmland. Above and below-ground propane/petroleum/petrochemical, munitions, refining, Mfg or storage.

    Advantages - Tower Ladder/Elevating Platform:

    Safety, Safety, Safety stable platform area to work off when performing OV and exterior overhaul operations. Especially valuable when performing roof ventilation on structures with peaked roofs i.e. Queen Anns, Garden Apartments, Truss, Gables etc.

    Safety -- Its a lot easier (less fatiguing) to ride the saws, axes, roof hooks, haligans etc. up to the roof in the bucket as opposed to them being strapped on your shoulder and in your free hand and walked up the ladder. Especially when being done at low angles of elevation. BTW, if I had a choice between using an interior stairway of an adjoining structure or aerial (stick) to carry my tools to the roof, Id choose the adjoining buildings interior stairway.

    Safety Occupant removal especially when incapacitated. Self-explanatory.

    Safety Ease of - and safe repositioning of device with FFs still at tip and operating from bucket. (Should not be routinely done with aerials however, we all know there are times when you must make exceptions.)

    Portable master-stream usually 1000gpm or above that can be moved anywhere from ground level and up left and right without interrupting the flow. Ability to operate master-stream appliance anywhere from the 8:00 to 10:00 Oclock positions with the platform elevation at or between the 10 to 70+ degree positions (depending upon mfg specs).

    Disadvantages - Tower Ladders/Elevating Platforms:

    Vehicle dimensions & footprint are usually much greater than that of an aerial (stick).

    May not be able to access many of the streets in your district/response area due to overall vehicle size

    Requires higher level of chauffer training ie. Larger overall vehicle size, operational and tactical differences (when to enter and not enter the fire block, positioning of device, etc.).

    May not be able to pass the tower ladders elevating superstructure and bucket between obstructions due to increased width and height ie. between utility/cable/telephone -- lines/poles, trees, narrowly spaced buildings etc.

    Increased number of extending jacks (usually two sets) and greater jack spread even when shorted. May not be able to deploy jacks due to narrow roadways or parallel obstructions ie. Parked vehicles.

    Higher purchase cost -- somewhere between 100,000 to 200,000 or more depending upon specs and mfg.

    Higher maintenance costs due to greater complexity and size ie. larger/heavier duty superstructure & driveline (engine, transmission, axles & brakes).

    Depending upon the mfg. The elevating platform may not have a continuous means of ingress and egress other than an emergency escape ladder. Not a big deal if your dept has both aerials and elevating platforms. When a FF makes entry into a window or onto a roof via an aerial or tower ladder a continuous means of egress must be supplied. The unit that placed the FF in the window or onto the roof should not be moved to or utilized at another location unless it has been confirmed that the FF has another safe accessible means of egress (another tower ladder/elevating platform, aerial, adjoining roof, etc).

    Im not going to separately list the +s and s of the Aerial (straight stick) since most can be surmised from the tower ladder/elevating platform evaluation. For the most part Id just be repeating myself with a few exceptions.

    Once again these are just my observations and opinions. Im sure others on this forum will supply you with some valuable insight. I would suggest that you do a search for articles written by the experts --- Chief Bill Peters (retired JCFD), Lt Mike Wilbur (FDNY), Chief Harry Carter (retired NFD) and Chief Vincent Dunn (retied FDNY).

    Mike Wilbur has written quite a few articles on Aerials and Tower Ladders in recent issues of Firehouse Magazine, some can also be found on this web page as well.

    Good luck in your search.[B]

  7. #7
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    You go Chris !
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    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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