1. #1
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    Default small aerial vs large aerial?

    we are looking at aerial platforms and small vs large. we are a dept serving 13,000 people in our town with 30 volunteers. Our city building code limits buildings to nomore than 3 stories in height. We all agree we need this piece of equipment but we cant agree on the height of it. I am looking for pro and cons for both sides. Can anyone help me?

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    My advice would be to plan for the future. Building codes can change over time and allow for taller buildings. However, I'm pretty sure you will run into some difficulties making a 75' stick go 100' in the air.

    But everything also depends on what your budget is....

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    never can have too much ladder. this is just me, but id go with as big as i could get. if you can afford the 100+, then go for it, you wont be sorry.
    Your a daisy if you do.

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    hmm...well I would look at it this way, consider how easy it is to move a 75 foot ladder as compared to a 150 foot "uber ladder". I look at it this way, yeah, plan for some growth, but the lighter the truck, less on the fuel bill, and it can go places that "uber ladders" can't, so it all depends, in your situation, I would say 75 footer would cut it, but 100 foot would also be nice to have...all depends on your area, any places where road wieght limit is low, any underpasses, what sort of surfaces are your outriggers going to be placed on (if you can place them at all in some places due to minimum placement specs)...all food for thought
    This we do so others may live

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    One thing that you REALLY need to look at is your reach needs. You may only have 3 story bldg's in your district, BUT are they all easily accessible to get the aerialo set up so it can be put into operation? This is something that often gets overlooked, and when you are spending the kind of money that an aerial device costs, a mistake means you live with that mistake for 20-30 years. I agree, in todays world buying a 100' is being pro-active in many ways. In the age of the McMansion (these cookie cutter monster homes going up all over) unless you have a ordinace covering the width of a driveway opening, buying anything BUT a minimum of a 95'-100' aerial is crazy.

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    My advice, get the bigger ladder on a double rear axle. A 75 footer is easy to justify a single axle, but always bites you in the backside after you pile all of the gear on it through the years. It also gives you better braking, which will be important for a dept that doesn't drive something that big often.

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    Default aerial

    I agree that if you can afford a 100 footer then do it. What you may want to consider besides length is tip load and a straight stick vs. a basket. If you have a small tip load (250lbs.) is that going to allow you to operate sufficent rescue removal operations of people from the ladder? I would want nothing less than 500lbs tip load.

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    Go 100' or greater. We have mostly three story and below housing, but we have a number of large shopping centers, large setbacks, two 5 story hotels, and four 10 story apartment buildings. A developer is bringing in four more 10 story hotels. We definately need, and are specing, a 100' platform.


    Another way to be proactive - get a strict fire code passed, have your municipality hire an inspector/firefighter(for the daytime), or get an inspector for your department(if you can't get them to hire you a guy). Enforce the code vigorously. Our code requires all driveways be wide enough to fit our widest truck up them while maintaining adequate room for a charger 5" on the side. Our cul-de-sacs and the like in all new developments are required to be wide enough to drive two engines side by side down the road, and the actual circle at the end has to be big enough to get a truck with a 230" wheel base down and turned around with no more than one back-up. We made it that way to facilitate easy access for aerials into these new plans, especially since they put up about 400-600 new houses in our area a year.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

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    Contrary to popular belief, you can get a single axle platform that will serve your community well. There is a manufacturer who builds a mid-mount 70' AP that is on a single axle and will still make the weight ratings with 500 gal. water 50 gal. foam and a full compliment of equipment. Please be respectful of your tax payers. If you don't currently need the "uber" ladder, don't spend the extra dollars. Should you plan for future growth, sure. But why spend the extra 100-300 grand for a ladder that will reach the 1-2 new buildings that may pop up that will require it. The cost vs benefit just doesn't add up. The tandem axle'd rigs that everyone else harps about will cost you a ton more in maintanence over the years. This is especially true if this will be a first out rig. I too live in a town of approx. 13,000. We have a 75' stick on a single axle. It reaches everything we need and it doesn't appear that there are any new skyscrapers in our future. We also have limits on set backs, so nothing new will be out of our reach!! However, our neighboring metro dept. has bought several new tandem 75' sticks and have already started haveing problems. They are shreding tires trying to make the same tight turns into their stations and down their old streets. The operators love that they are new but still wish that they had their old single axle'd rigs back. Just remember to be respectful of the people you serve. If you don't currently need 100' then don't get it.
    I have but one ambition in life and that is to become a firefighter.

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    100 FT no less!

    Like everyone else has covered. Plan ahead. Watch the set backs. That has killed us recently. New town ordance, all houses will be set back 30 feet min from the road.

    Our 75 footer is good 75% of the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by efd281
    Contrary to popular belief, you can get a single axle platform that will serve your community well. There is a manufacturer who builds a mid-mount 70' AP that is on a single axle and will still make the weight ratings with 500 gal. water 50 gal. foam and a full compliment of equipment. Please be respectful of your tax payers. If you don't currently need the "uber" ladder, don't spend the extra dollars. Should you plan for future growth, sure. But why spend the extra 100-300 grand for a ladder that will reach the 1-2 new buildings that may pop up that will require it. The cost vs benefit just doesn't add up. The tandem axle'd rigs that everyone else harps about will cost you a ton more in maintanence over the years. This is especially true if this will be a first out rig. I too live in a town of approx. 13,000. We have a 75' stick on a single axle. It reaches everything we need and it doesn't appear that there are any new skyscrapers in our future. We also have limits on set backs, so nothing new will be out of our reach!! However, our neighboring metro dept. has bought several new tandem 75' sticks and have already started haveing problems. They are shreding tires trying to make the same tight turns into their stations and down their old streets. The operators love that they are new but still wish that they had their old single axle'd rigs back. Just remember to be respectful of the people you serve. If you don't currently need 100' then don't get it.

    Hey efd281 you should contact your local Sutphen dealer about a sales position. You are emphatic in your points about the Sutphen 70' tl on the single axle chassis. Yes you should keep the tax payers in mind, BUT you should also do it not olnly now but down the road. If there are no set back limits OR driveway entrance size limits, then your plan of action goes right out the window!

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    Captain S,Good one.75'/75% of the time.Now lessee,75' is 75% of 100. Ah Bob,I'll take aerial devices for 100,please.And don't forget about winter and snowbanks if that's applicable in your area.T.C.

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    ISO's take:
    The device (aerial ladder, telescopic elevated platform or articulated platform) needs to reach the roof of any building in the community taking into consideration set backs or be 100 feet in length, whatever is less.
    If you buy a 75 foot aerial and need a 100 foot aerial you will only get 75% credit for the ladder and the aerial master stream.

    Think of 20 years ago and how the area looked. If you're going to buy a 15-20 year truck, it had better be spec'd to last 20 years. That's the responsible thing to do for the current taxpayers.

    And if you look at pictures it's easy enough to see that a 70'-75' single axle will not hold the same amount of equipment as a 100' midmount, which is still less than a 100'+ rear mount. Mid mounts are lower in height but a lot longer in length, so they serve a distinct purpose, but if you want a fully functioning truck, you need compartment space.

    We're just up Highway 6 from y'all and we went through the same issues in building the 105' stick that's in delivery checkout right now. And we went stick instead of tower because of limited driver experience with a tandem axle truck. The end of the Stick is inside the boundaries of the front bumper, so less chance of hitting something than a tower. Not impossible, just less. Email me if you have any other questions, be glad to answer what I can.

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    Then using the given math, 100 ft = 100%???? I don't think so!! As he said when the tread started, they have a limit of three stories on any new construction. You big city boys just don't get it! It is just plain irresponsible for a small department with no need for a 100 foot truck to buy one. If 75' gets the job done and there are ordinances in place to prevent growth that will put something out of reach, then what is the point in buying big? He would more than likely also have to make big adjustments to his apparatus floor to accomodate such a monster. My point is that bigger is NOT ALWAYS better. In some places, yes. In others, no.
    I have but one ambition in life and that is to become a firefighter.

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    If one 3 story building is set back from the road too far for a 75' aerial to reach, then they only get 75% credit. It only takes one. So while (for now) they can only build them 3 stories high, nothing says that they will be close enough to a staging point for a 75' stick to work. That was my point.

    No adjustments to the floor needed either, there's no such thing as basements around here.

    And it's a simple fact that a midmount does not have the compartment space of a rear. I'm not saying it's bad, good, or indifferent, it depends on what you need the truck to be equipped for. If you can roll a fully equipped heavy rescue then maybe you don't need it all on the ladder company. If you can't, then you need to build the truck to have all of the tools on it to get the job done.

    And I'm not big city either, I'm in a combo department that was the same mix of buildings as his area 10 years ago. So 10 years from now, their area will look like ours today, and a 75' will be practically useless. And we only have 1 4 story building, but about 200 3 story buildings, nearly all of that count as densely placed apartment buildings. In several areas we need the 100'+ to be able to use the master stream capabilities to get over other buildings, as well as the setbacks of 50' in some spots to hit the roof. A 75' might do the job in 75% of our district, but a 105' will handle 100%. Why would we waste money on a solution that isn't going to solve the problem everywhere? That's a diservice to the taxpayers.

    FDs have to plan for the future, and if you're hard up to buy a truck now, you'll be even harder up to explain why you need another one in 8 years because you didn't account for growth. Trucks are supposed to last for 15 years as front line, which is why you don't build them for what you need right now. The trucks you need today were supposed have been built 5-8 years ago. Don't create more problems for yourself by not planning ahead, that's my only message. So if a 75' will take care of 100% of the area for the next 10 years, buy one. If not, get the 100'.

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    "So if a 75' will take care of 100% of the area for the next 10 years, buy one. If not, get the 100'."

    That's what I have been trying to say all along!!!! We have a rear mount 75' stick and it is sorely lacking in compartment space. Yes I am a Sutphen fan! I also know that the single axle mid-mount truck that they sell can carry more water, have more compartment space and a heavier tip load than a comperable single axle rear mount. So I guess that it is not just a "simple" fact if you truely know the facts!
    I have but one ambition in life and that is to become a firefighter.

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    We're not "big city"either but I've got buildings that between setbacks and snowbanks means a 75' will JUST reach under ideal conditions.Since our "busy"season comes in less than ideal conditions,why limit what you can do? And you can get a 100' stick on a single axle and still make tight drives.Ask me how I know.Like BC says a 75 only goes 75.If you need to get OVER that 3 decker to protect it,and if it has ANY setback you could find yourself short.In todays dollars,rig for rig 25' of ladder isn't THAT much more money. We recently asked Sutphen that very question and their answer was surprising even to me.That would be a 95 over a 75 but for our argument here it still holds. T.C.

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    We had ordinances prohibiting buildings being built over 200,000sq. ft in the early 1990s. We now have a 300,000 sq. ft wal-mart, a similar sized Lowes and Home Depot, and over a 500,000sq. ft Bass Pro Outdoor World being built as I type this message.

    My point?: Ordinances change. Your ladder truck doesn't grow.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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    It's not how high your stick will go, it's how far it will reach... for example...

    3 story wood frame apartment building with walk up attic space: 40 feet in height at trhe peak

    20 foot lawn area and a 4 foot wide sidewalk: 24 feet

    Head in parking along the sidewalk, average space 20 feet long.

    40+24+20 = 84 feet.

    Add a working fire and a need to vent the roof in a big hurry.. trust me. you'll want the 100 or 110 foot stick!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    It's not how high your stick will go, it's how far it will reach... for example...

    3 story wood frame apartment building with walk up attic space: 40 feet in height at trhe peak

    20 foot lawn area and a 4 foot wide sidewalk: 24 feet

    Head in parking along the sidewalk, average space 20 feet long.

    40+24+20 = 84 feet.

    Add a working fire and a need to vent the roof in a big hurry.. trust me. you'll want the 100 or 110 foot stick!
    Whoa someone has been out of geometry class for a couple of years.
    Remember the Pythagorean Theorem?

    A^2 + B^2 = C^2
    44^2 = 1936
    40^2 = 1600
    1936 + 1600 = 3536
    square root of 3536 = 59.46 feet

    The distance on the angle for a 44 foot set back to the top of a 40 foot structure is 59.46 feet... from the ground. Your ladder starts 8-10' already in the air, but I'm not doing that math. Mathmatically a 75' stick could ladder the edge of a 35' dwelling from 66' away.

    I'm not supporting 75' vs. 100' (heck we have a 55' ladder ) Just showing the math.
    Last edited by FFTide; 08-31-2005 at 09:45 AM.
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    But you don't vent the edge, you vent the peak, and the distance from edge to peak is at least 16' on a peaked roof. And don't forget that the measurement is from the middle of the truck, not the edge, so you lose at least 4' there. So the safest method of venting (from the main) would require a length of 80' (60' + 4' + 16').

    And add in the part about never being sure that you can park exactly perpendicular to the side you want to vent on, so add some fudge factor for that distance. In other words, if you have to park at one end of a 50' wide structure, and vent the middle of the roof, if you park the edge of the truck 66' away, it will be 74 feet from the middle of the turntable to the edge of the roof. So you're 20' short of meeting the objective, and you're venting by ground ladder (time & manpower) and just defeated the main purpose of buying an aerial in the first place. Besides the fact that your collapse zone on a 35' structure is 70', so you're parking at least that far away unless you want a damaged truck. A 75' won't even reach the edge of the roof then. So I think we just showed that 3 story structures require 100' aerials unless you want to take on the safety risk of parking in the collapse zone. Not worth the it in my mind.

    These are the types of calculations that your ISO auditor will perform. As I said earlier, if there is one structure that will require a 100' aerial, and you have a 75', you will receive only 75% credit for the aerial and master stream categories. And yes, only 70% if you have a 70' ladder. ISO is another game of fractions, so every point counts. Another point of accountability to the taxpayers.

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    My mistake, collapse is 1.5 times the height.

    Another calculation I thought of while taking a thinking break was the true distance calcs from my above example, and including the height of the turntable for a more accurate sampling.

    The linear distance from the positioning of the truck to the plane of the edge of the roof at it's intersection with the ground is 74'. So for the vertical triangle that follows that path from the base of the turntable (8' high) to the peak of the roof (35' high) is a right triangle with a base of that previously mentioned 74', and the vertical piece of 27' (difference between the turntables plane and the roof peak).

    This gives a needed aerial distance of 77.5' to reach the edge of the roof. 75' will be short.

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    Everyone states a good point. You have all argued cost,use,capability etc. We just purchased our first ladder truck about a year ago. It is the only ladder at the time within 45 miles! I got a used 100 foot straight stick. The end result when asked why did you need a 100 foot ladder. "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it." We have used it twice where the 75' would not have worked. Just my thoughts.

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    All have had good points. Talk to the apparatus companies and have them bring in a 75' and a 100'+ aerial and try it. BUT, I would recommaned a 100' if you can afford it. People have put out some serious geometry here trying to prove or disprove what you need. From personal experience we have a 2 story apartment complex (14 buildings) and a couple of 3 story complexes that we can't get the aerial to the edge of the roof. We must use ground ladders and the master stream is basically worthless. The price difference is minimal when you factor it over a 15-20 service life.

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    We are also small town America ...........back in 1978 our forefathers had enough gumption to buy an 85ft. Tower vs a Telesquirt. It is the only one of 2 buckets in the entire county. It has worked out great for us..........I would say that if you could afford it then go 100'.................now the other big question ............pump or no pump ?
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