1. #1
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    Default Budget Ladder Truck Question

    Don't laugh quite yet..... I am trying to determine if this idea is preposterous or realistic, and I could argue it either way. I want to bounce it off of a few other people and see if anyone has considered or tried to do this, or if not, why not, etc etc etc...

    We are not a large department, and we do not have the budget for a ladder truck, but we are quickly getting to the point that we will need one based on construction trends in our district. The closest mutual aid ladder is about fifteen miles away at an unmanned station (about 25 minutes response time from being paged to on-scene).

    So... some of us were talking, and the idea of a utility/cable company aerial bucket truck came up (keep holding your laughter - at least for now. ). The thought was that obviously you're not going to do any suppression from it, you can't plumb it and it is probably not rated for the sideways-pressure stresses of spraying a high pressure hose line from it. You can't use it for assisted rescue, as it is probably not rated to hold more than one person.

    But... maybe we CAN use it to ventilate. Our climate is very cold and snowy, and running a chainsaw or K12 off the side of the bucket is maybe safer than off an icy roof ladder. Certainly you are safer from roof collapse risks. We could even potentially use it to insert personnel above ground level. Maybe even - reaching here - manipulate it empty to allow able-bodied trapped occupants to climb aboard and escape.

    As I write all this out, I am more and more thinking this is not an good solution, and probably not recommended. The truck would have to be awfully close to the structure to reach over, as they are designed to go UP and not so much OVER. Still, the curiousity is getting the better of me. If anyone else has considered this, are there any other benefits or uses I am missing, or other glaring reasons not to do this? Or better yet, does anyone know of a department that actually tried this, and how did it work out?

    OK, commence laughing now, I understand completely. Maybe we can buy a 1985 aerial on eBay for $5,000.

    Stay safe.

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    Just remember you get what you pay for. Spend the money on some good ground ladders or if you get a used truck make sure the ladder is cert. Also review NFPA specs and train, train, and train some more.

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    Talking try this on for size

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    The Gibraltar Fire Brigade, (based on that litle bit of England at the bottom of Spain), runs a small ladder truck on a Mercedes cab & chassis, which does'nt look too big and may possibly be what you are looking for. A photo can be found at: http://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/gov_dept...pps%202004.jpg

    (The photo was too big to post on here)

    Hope it helps.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

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    A local department has a utility truck that was purchased? from a local company it is a 50' telesquirt that was used for powerlines etc. I dont know the whole story but I think that is is prepiped, probably not from the utility company. Other people from around toledo might be able to help you more.
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    Two answers:

    First: my commendation on thinking outside of the box. The larger electric utility trucks around here are Internationals with tandem axle and two person buckets. Some can hit 75' high. I don't know about weight ratings when at the different angles, but they all have outriggers on them and probably can go out to the sides without much problem. The only drawback I can think of is since it won't be pumping any water, when would it respond and how close would it be able to get to the burning structure? Normally Rural/Suburban areas have too many houses that sit back from the road and have limited driveway access. Also, the bucket is designed to be parked UNDER what you're working on, which is why it's 3.5'-4' deep. It's meant to keep people in, not let people work on something below the bucket. You'd be hard pressed to be able to get a saw on a roof from one of those buckets.

    Second: Because of placement, many times aerial are useless anyway, whether it was poor parking, or just building contruction. I used to run with a truck company up north in an area with older sections of tight alleys and streets. Add in the old trees around the houses, and the stick was unusable most of the time. Many times we had to throw ground ladders onto snow and ice covered roofs, but that's where training comes in. Train & know your equipment in good weather, and you'll be proficient at it in bad weather too. Roof ladders were made for using in such conditions. Have the roof crew wear ladder belts and clip them to the roof ladder. Use two roof ladders for added stability. Cut a 2' wide trench the whole length of the roof next to the roof ladder rather than a 4x4 if you can't safely make the far cut 4' from the ladder. Or make the far cut then reposition the roof ladder. Training overcomes equipment shortfalls every time.

    So regardless of what aerial device you buy, your problem really won't be solved. Some fires will be made easier, and I think everyone should have an aerial device of some sorts, but it's not a catch-all, and it's the FFs that make it work or not work.

    Good Luck and Stay Safe.

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    Talking Very affordable...

    This could work...
    Last edited by Bones42; 03-15-2011 at 10:38 AM.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    In all seriousness, we used to have a small truck similar to what you are looking for. It had a 35' ladder on it, no water at all. It was small enough to get into driveways and alleys with no problems. It had no stabilizing jacks, but had no bucket, just the ladder. We did ventilate via the ladder although it's easier to do from a good bucket. We also rescued a few people using it and used it as an extra staircase many times. Wish we still had it. It was not "fire service rated" so it was not considered by ISO and such, but it did the job we needed so we weren't worried about it.

    I have talked with power company guys that have spent some time in Arizona on trucks that went as high as 210'. There are some very stable and reliable power/cable company trucks out there.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Good man "outside of the box" thinking is required in out here in flyover country. Can't just write a check.

    I'll give you another option to think about. Your forester can get you an AF surplus deicer truck (photo attached). No cost to try out the idea (other than transportation to you/adapt).

    1200gal tank. Highpressure pump driven by a second engine(not much in gpm). Small "monitor" in 2man bucket. Prepiped with telescoping boom.

    No jacks is an issue. Regular flow thru DOD surplus system and they do not get requested. At present Ford Diesel Auto with very very low miles (they don't go anywhere of course). Made by Landoll.
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    http://www.navfac.navy.mil/pw/suppor...rvc/trucks.htm

    This is a link to information on obtaining surplus Navy fire trucks. Addresses and other contact information is included.

    http://www.navfac.navy.mil/pw/suppor...c/truckpoc.cfm

    This is contact addresses for your individual state.

    I have visited Navy fire stations before and their trucks are in great condition.


    Hope this helps.
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    Originally posted by RFRDxplorer

    This is contact addresses for your individual state.

    I have visited Navy fire stations before and their trucks are in great condition.


    Hope this helps. [/B]
    If you want to get DOD surplus property thru your state fed surplus property office (link above) you can. You get title (if that matters). The state gets stuff after has been well picked over.

    Your state forester gets the same DOD property (FEPP program) in an earlier cycle (GSA) and loans it to you. You have it as long as you want it and you can modify it in any way you want. This is the smart route to getting the better quality DOD surplus.

    AF equipment is in generally in pretty good condition but may have parts missing, Navy spotty, USMC mostly beat to death (do they know maintenance at all), National Guard good, USAR poor to fair, Active Army spotty.

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    Pretty sure Chicago used converted cherry pickers that eventually lead to the design of their current squads. I know this piece of knowledge helps out very little, but I thought it would be nice to throw in.

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    speaking of ebay, here's one

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eB...516938623&rd=1

    My biggest concern would be liability using a truck for a purpose other than it's designed for could come around to bite ya if something goes wrong.

    Keep in mind that you have to have inspections, tests and other costly stuff done when you have a ladder truck.

    sounds like you have the desire to make something happen, do some research on grants, used trucks, and so on. If your dept really needs one.... where theres a will, there's a way!!
    COFire
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    As i used to work for a utility equipment dealer i can tell you that these units are designed to remain stable unfolded over center at 90 degrees on a 5 degree slope. BUT, stable means that it doesn't tip over. I have seen some that make me wonder but engineers say good to go. Some larger ones are defined as "material handlers". theese are equipped with a jib boom that on some, are rated for 1000lbs. This depends solely on position. Straight up, full cap. As you go over center you loose dramatically. One good thing is that these utility style booms are constructed with fiberglass. I know what you must be thinking, don't worry, as long as it is cared for. the reason

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    Oops, I was not done. theese trucks use the fiberglass so they are insulated. The only problem here is that they must be kept clean inside and out. The big advise to give to you is do not forget NFPA. Is there any way to consolidate equipment and get a quint with a 75' stick. short truck with pump and tank capacity. Hope I helped.

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