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  1. #1
    Forum Member
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    May 2006
    St. Johns County

    Default Ground Ladder Placement

    I have a question about ground ladder placement for fire suppression through a second story window. Where do you place the ladder? When I went through Standards 2 years ago, I remember the instructors telling us to place the ladder over the the window per the IFSTA manual, but then them telling us that this is a danger as smoke and/or fire could billow out toward you. So the solution was told to us that in the real world you would place the ladder to the winward side of the window, so as to first ventilate the window , if need be, then you would have a safer vantage point to fight the fire. That being said, I have just failed my four month test for doing it this way. If the IFSTA way is correct, then can someone answer me why? And if the "Real world" way is better then why hasn't IFSTA been changed to reflect a more modern approach to this task? If I can understand the concept better then I won't make the same mistake twice.

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Oct 2004


    At my academy we were taught...

    Ladder placed at the top of window and to the side where the smoke will blow away from you as you vent.

    Ladder placed at bottom of window and under the window when doing S&R.

    We were told never to place the ladder directly over the window for multiple reasons, Blocks a point of egress for interior attack team, and smoke and fire as you mention above were the others that I can remember.

    I always had trouble remembering how to define the windward side. Anyone help me on that? Say if you have a window Ll (lol thats my window) and the ladder is on the left side, wind blowing from left to right would the ladder be on the windward side?

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Panorama, British Columbia, Canada


    Yes, Windward in the side that wind is coming from. Leeward is where the smoke is going.

    And regarding the original question.

    There are reasons to place the ladder over the window, and suppression is just one of them. The issue of blowing smoke and flame should not normally be a huge concern, because if you are in place flowing water, your window is an entry point, and most air movement will be in-line with the water stream. There will also be nozzle reaction, and you are usually handling the line alone, so you don't really want to be fighting for your position against the water stream. Smoke is what SCBA is for, and just like aerial ops, it wouldn't be the first time you had to operate in a little smoke. Obviously if it is so heavy that you cannot monitor the ladder, or your own safety, you should move.

    As for the "real-world" way, there is the book way, and YOUR departments way. Just because your leadership says method "A" is the end-all and be-all does not mean the rest of the world is committed to it. You should be fully versed on the other options, and prepared to adapt your operations with them if needed (and your SOP allows).

    And finally, if you have adopted IFSTA as your training program, you have to be prepared to follow it at every reexamination. Another analogy could be that most of us learn first aid the Textbook way, and we have to be prepared to examine to that standard ever couple of years. That does not mean we haven't found some effective time/work savers for the real-world, but the examination is to ensure you know the "Technical" way.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!


  4. #4
    Forum Member backsteprescue123's Avatar
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    Apr 2004


    Everyone else has covered it pretty well......jammed under sill for Rescue....etc.etc.etc...
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Oxford, MS

    Default ladder's

    Everyone definately described it well. You do need to remeber powerlines, overhead obstruction's (these are kinda common sense). Do not block an exit, such as laddering to the 2nd floor but blocking the first floor doorway. Also, I have heard many people say that with an aerial (I know you said ground, but) to go over the window and them come down in rescuing if at all possible. This helps keep the victim from jumping out at you.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Squad1LT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    For your training you have to do it the way you were taught to pass a test. Real world, I always put the ladder just under the sill. I have done it this way several times and it works just fine. If you need to enter the window the ladder is already there.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber tecrsq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Cherokee County Georgia


    Ladders positioned as stated previously but I would add that you hardly ever just throw a ladder without throwing a second ladder in case Murphys Law raises its ugly head.

    When we throw a ladder to the A side we will back it up with another to the B,C or D side as well and verbally announce its location on radio.
    North Georgia

    - Let No Mans Ghost Come Back To Say My Fire Training Let Me Down -

  8. #8
    Forum Member dragonfyre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Birdsboro, PA


    Ask the guys in York PA what happened to them a few years back when they placed the ladder on the side of the window rather than over it as per the manuals.

    You have to remember one thing: Whenever you open up a nozzle you get BACK PRESSURE. The ladder can not take that away from you if you are off to the side. The main reason it's taught to be over the window is so that the ladder takes the BP away from you.

    Also, you can't cover more than 20% of the room from the side.

    Obviously if the fire is blowing out the window you don't want to place the ladder over it for safety reasons. (Not to mention melting the ladder.)

    The guys from York were blown off the ladder when they opened the nozzle. Neither one had a leg lock on either. I use the newspaper photo to emphasize why we teach over the window method.

    It's also a good example of how whenever you screw up someone is there with a camera.
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003


    Quote Originally Posted by dragonfyre
    Ask the guys in York PA what happened to them a few years back when they placed the ladder on the side of the window rather than over it as per the manuals.

    I use the newspaper photo to emphasize why we teach over the window method.
    Damnit! We've been doing it wrong, apparently. Under the sill here.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Apr 2003


    I believe I've only had to do it once from a ground ladder. The ladder was placed just under the sill (where I prefer it) and no ladder locks where used. This gives me the entire window opening to move the nozzle around wherever is necessary. I had no problems controling the reaction force (150 GPM) and keeping it pinned (somewhat) against the ladder. Just be prepared for it, open it slowly, and you'll be ok, although I could see it being a problem if you didn't know what you're doing.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    University Park, MD


    "If the IFSTA way is correct, then can someone answer me why? And if the "Real world" way is better then why hasn't IFSTA been changed to reflect a more modern approach to this task? If I can understand the concept better then I won't make the same mistake twice."

    The IFSTA way is correct and unchanged because of legalism and the phrase someone has written at least once in their lifetime 'In preparation for litigation I hereby submit my version of the events on..."

    It's no suprise you unfortunately failed, and no suprise why you ask "why"?

    The next time you test, do everything exactly to the letter.

    On the fireground, honestly, who is going to take the time and stop an determine which side is the windward side and which is the leeward side? This alone would probably create a seperate thread where everyone will also debate port, starboard, bow and stern. I've even heard debates about whether or not you should be using a roof ladder to access a porch roof instead of a extension ladder.

    Despite all the manuals and methods of instruction, in my experience placement of portable ladders has always been done in the following way:
    1. Tip end up. (don't laugh, it does happen)
    2. Under the window sill.

    Like I've said and written, take what you've learned then go to your trusted senior man or officer and see what to throw out. The concept is that we (the fire service) do not always teach and test in the same way we work.

    On an aside, if the placement alongside the window was actually taught to you by your instructor, and when you did this you were failed, then you have a formal grievance, if you wish to persue that.

    William Carey
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I know what you mean about learning two different ways. My instructors always told me the "book" way, then the "real world". Seems like half of the things I'm supposed to learn, change after I get hired.

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