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  1. #1
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    Default Ladder Truck Staffing

    Our department has planned to buy a ladder truck in the upcoming years (1-2). We are reviewing such things as How much staffing will be needed to staff the ladder at night as well amount of training our department should have to be prepared for the delivery. Also examples of dispatch protocols other jurisdictions use for their ladder trucks.

    We have bunk rooms that can currently staff 12 members. We currently run between 350-400 calls in our area a year. We wish to offer the truck to the county to be available for dispatch to assist any company as it will be the first Tower in the county.

    Any help or guidance as i know many of you have been through it before


  2. #2
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    If you want to be a true Truck Company, nothing less then 4 on board will do. Does your department REALLY need a Tower Ladder? Not a slam on your department one bit, but F.D.'s purchasing rigs they will rarely use and dont really need is not an uncommon occurance. If you decide you do need a truck, then use it. Start making assignments for 4,5 and even 6 person crews. Learn that rig inside and out and more importantly get good at basic truck work. Good luck. Remember one thing that often gets lost in the shuffle. Your FIREFIGHTERS are going to have a greater impact on effective truck operations then a piece of apparatus ever will.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  3. #3
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    I won't say our departments area totally needs a ladder truck but our southern end of the county does. Not having a ladder holds back some of the economical growth in the area as well as industry and commercial business is popping up everywhere, We also have a 4 story nursing home that will be very large going in over the next 3 years and over 4-5 Hotels in the area with more on the way.

    This is more of a case where our county is being proactive instead of reactive. We are the best suited department in the county to staff the rig and have the highest membership and training. And are also in the most central location.

  4. #4
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Go For It.......................

    From what you've said so far, I see a need for a Truck Company in your County. Staffing? We can respond with two, IF that's all we have. Normally we go with 5 or 6. Our Truck is a Seagrave Apollo 105' Tower Ladder. Seagrave is OK, and the Tower is VERY stable under every condition that I've used it in, since we placed it in service in 1992. The only thing that I don't like is the six man cab. If you have the money, go for a 10 man cab, with 8 seats. That will give you plenty of "elbow room", and get away from the motor between the seats. Personal opinion, I like Spartan cabs above all others, we have 2 now, (Just sold one, a 85') and I hope to see one on our next Tower. Last, a Tower has a hundred more things going for it than a straight ladder. The biggest is water flow. We've hit over 2,000 gpm on ours. I'll be back with more, later.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  5. #5
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    FFEMT284, I am not familiar with the area you are from , but when you make mention that there are no other ladders in the County, I am assuming you are in a somewhat rural area. It is my personal belief, that in a Rural area, each house should have as much as they can. If your company has 3 Pumpers, a Tanker, a Rescue and a Ladder...than so be it. That only means that the next company 20 miles away won't have to leave their area uncovered to provide you with a service. You would be somewhat self-sufficient.

    As far as Ladder Company Staffing Goes, you ideally want six men on the Crew. One Driver (Or two depending on the type of truck you get) Officer, Bar Man, Hook and Can Man, Lights and Fans/Ventilation and a Ladder Guy. The Driver and the Ladder Guy work together to ensure Ground Ladders Get deployed. The Officer and the Bar Man Can work a search and the Hook Man and the Vent Man work together to check extension and get fans and lights deployed. If you have a Tiller Truck, the Tillerman acts as the Ladder Man and can be the first man up the aerial if it is deployed as well.

    Four Man Truck Companies are pretty Standard. It is the NFPA Standard for Minimum Staffing of a Ladder Company. In the case of a Four Man Ladder, the Officer takes the duties of the Bar Man and the Vent Man works with the Driver to deploy the ladders and then enters to assist the officer.

    Three Man Truck companies are not uncommon either. In this case, three persons ensure ground ladder placement (Unless obvious rescue is necessary) and then enter for a search. Duties become harder to accomplish with three persons, but it can be done.

    I will let you know that your driver is NOT going to be standing outside like the Pump Operators. The Driver of a Ladder Company has alot of tasks. His most important task is getting you there and positioning that Ladder Truck. Police Cars, Ambulances and Civilian Vehicles will make positioning a true challenge sometimes. The Driver must be aware of his surroundings and overhead obstructions (Power Lines, Trees etc.)

    Once the Driver accomplishes this mission, he should start covering the structure with ground ladders (unless it's a structure that requires aerial ladder placement) and breaking windows in the process. The Driver should be on the lookout for persons hanging from windows (Fireman included) while placing the ladders. He should also be mindful of proper ground ladder placement at a window. Once this task is accomplished, most ladder drivers (In this area) mask-up and join their crew inside.

    A ladder truck is a very important tool on the Fireground. With a good ladder crew, you can tell the engine company to go home on a small fire....

    Hope that helped you.
    Proud Right-Wing Extremist since 1992

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  6. #6
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    Lightbulb Truck work.

    First off congratulations on expanding your fleet and response capabilities. As for training your truck crew, it is very important that they understand they are on the truck, not another engine. Sounds like a no-brainer I know, but I have seen engine guys who have been detailed to a truck and still can't resist the urge to take up a nozzle at a fire.
    Other than that, your truck crew should be thoroughly trained in proper ventilation (vertical and horizontal), search techniques (including the TIC if you have one), forcible entry/exit, ladder work (type/placement), and fire scene lighting. Don't forget thorough slavage and overhaul and also make sure your crew knows how/where to disconnect the utilities (throwing the switch). If your truck is going to carry the Jaws, train your crew extensively on them as well.
    You can see why the minumum is a 4 person crew, look at all the duties the truck is primarily responsible for. Depending on how well it's performed, truck work can make or break an incident. Good luck! -46

  7. #7
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up And.................

    Tillerman25 touched on an important point. PROPER PLACEMENT of the Truck is paramount to PROPER OPERATION of the Truck. Keeping a space open for the Truck, on whichever side that may be appropriate, is a bit difficult at times, BUT, it is absolutely necessary. Chiefs, POVs, Cops, and others who may park in the Fire area, INCLUDING engines and Tankers, need to remember that Engines have literally thousands of feet of hose to go wherever, where Trucks only have 100 feet of Aerial device to work with.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    Whatever number you come up with for staffing levels, if you wind up with a quint, add at least one more. Sounds pretty obvious, but you'd be surprised. . .
    ullrichk
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    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  9. #9
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    The previous posts have made some excellent points regarding the duties of a truck/ladder company. The important thing to remember is that a ladder company is more than a fire truck with a big ladder mounted on top. When it comes to determining the manpower requirements, remember that many of the tasks previously identified are ones that your department should be performing now even though you don't have a truck with the big ladder. A department that will start operating a ladder company needs to step back and take a look at their fire ground operations and determine how the responsibilities will be assigned in the future. That will determine your manpower requirements. The suggestions provided in the previous posts are a good start.

    As for training, the biggest mistake most departments make when they acquire their first aerial device is to focus their training on the operation of the truck. The most important training needs to be on fireground tactics and effective use of the aerial on the fireground. An improperly used aerial device can make the fireground a more dangerous place and can make firefighting more difficult. The officers need to take every class they can on aerial operations before the truck arrives. It would actually be beneficial to have some knowledge of aerial operations before the truck is put out for bid. The knowledge gained may result in a truck that better meets the needs of the department.

    Finally, I totally agree with the others regarding truck placement. I spent a few years on a ladder company and nothing was more frustrating than to pull up and find that "our spot" was taken by an engine or rescue company. The general rule in our station was that the "address" belonged to the first due ladder and the engine would pull past the fire. Engine companies who did not respond out of a station with a ladder company apparently did not have this policy and parked wherever they wanted.

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