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  1. #1
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    Default Platform vs. ladder

    From the turn table down everything being identical, would you chose a platform/tower or a ladder/stick and why? For the sake of argument it is a preplumbed water way. Not looking for brand X does this, brand Y can't. I want to know which type of aerial you prefer and why.
    Thank you,
    Walt.
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  2. #2
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    Platform:
    1. Better rescue capabilites (less required personnel, ease of coaxing granny in the basket vs. down the stick, more victims in less time).

    2. Better base to perform ventilation from. The ability to keep weight on the aerial without laying on the stick or dangling legs between rungs(OW!!). This is becoming a bigger issue with the proliferation of truss roofs.

    3. Better master stream capabilites. The ability to direct the stream from the point it leaves the nozzle without exposing a ffer above the hazard. Also the ability to use at the sidewalk level and flow back up into the cieling of the first floor.

    That's my opinion. There are reasons to go stick, but tactically I can't see why. The only exception is that you can use a stick to punch windows, but no manufacturer will warranty the aerial if you do it.

  3. #3
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    In general and assuming all other things are equal?

    If you're only going to have one truck, make it a tower ladder / platform. IMHO, it's hands down the most versatile single aerial type that there is.

    If you're going to have more than one truck, don't get two tower ladder / platforms. Get a straight stick, preferrably a mid-mount, to do all the things that your platform may not be as well suited to do.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    It all depends on the needs of you dept. I personnally believe that a straight stick is better suited for larger departments however at the same time not every rural dept needs a 110ft rear mount platform. For the suburbs I say go with a 75' stick. More rural departments that have industry, water, or other types of rescue scenarios often might look at something like e-ones bronto, I know that it works great for swiftwater and trench rescue. All in all I would say having a platform is a bit more versitile.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Platform on a stick.

    The ease and versatility of the platform, but the uninterrupted access of a stick.

    I would consider articulated platforms to be a second-truck tool.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  6. #6
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    We have a Mack/Baker 75' Aerialscope in service since 1985, this truck is our first aerial device ever owned by our department. When it is time to replace the scope one of the major factors will be " MONEY " can we afford a new 75' tower ladder or go for a 75'-100' stick at a lower cost between $ 100,000 - $ 150,000. I like working from a bucket rather than hanging onto a ladder in the winter months with the entire truck covered in ice !...

  7. #7
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    Having been on a Ladder for 15+ years I personally like a straight ladder when doing roof work. Having worked on ladders and platforms durning that time period when doing roof work a straight ladder is my prefered choice when doing that type of work. Having said the above, if you have to rescue someone a platform is the way to go. Best of both worlds would be to have one of each.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief1FF View Post
    Having been on a Ladder for 15+ years I personally like a straight ladder when doing roof work. Having worked on ladders and platforms durning that time period when doing roof work a straight ladder is my prefered choice when doing that type of work. Having said the above, if you have to rescue someone a platform is the way to go. Best of both worlds would be to have one of each.

    Just my 2 cents worth.
    Chief, can you explain why you prefer the stick for roof work? I'm not doubting you, I just haven't seen the real benefits myself. In our dept. we rotate operators monthly so no one person has much more stick time than any other. Before I got the other seat, I'd gone to the roof many times on our stick. I never liked cutting holes on steep pitches from the stick and am hoping our new tower make this easier on the vent crew. That said, 95% of our roofs are 6 pitch or greater other than the flat commercial/industrial ones. Again, just picking your brain as I'm interested in peoples views on working from sticks.

  9. #9
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    I hope i'm straying from what you are asking, but I see an issue that hasn't been addressed concerning your question.
    I agree that both type units have there benefits for safety and ease of operation, but a very critical item of concern that was iimportant when my own Dept.made our decision (platform/stick) was just getting from station to fire scene. I live in a small town that just loves to place trees and traffic signs at the corners, (this has been an ongoing battle) which we found that we had a very difficult time in manuvering a platform type device. This led us to the purchase of the stick. We had to as the saying goes Adapt/Overcome!! Just an item to keep in mind.

  10. #10
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    Good point Stickhead! There is a significant learning curve going froma rearmount stick to our new mid-mount tower when it comes to getting from point A to point B! It is by no means insurmountable, but given your response district it could be a large factor. We're fortuneate enough that most of our residential streets have off street parking. There are a few places where street signs, trees and parked cars are close to the intersection requiring the operator to be much more mindful when cornering. In fact the hardest place to manuever our new tower around is right in front of our station when traffic is stopped at the light. We're trying to get another light installed before the station to elimunate cars from stopping directly in front when a switch is activated in the FD for responses.

  11. #11
    Forum Member FFWALT's Avatar
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    First, thank you for the thoughts, please keep them coming. This is the type of discussion I was hoping for.
    Second, to address Stickhead6. Everyone has a preference of midmount vs. rear mount, single axle vs. tandems, quint vs. truck, etc. I just want to get people's views regarding the apparatus they are familiar with and using that apparatus from the turn table down, would they prefer a ladder or platform above.
    Chief1FF, I am also interested in your views from a tactical stand point. I have used both, although not extensively, but I am still interested in different tactical views from each type of apparatus.
    Keep it up.
    Train like you want to fight.
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    RFDACM02,

    Sorry I did not get back to you sooner.

    First let me say that I have over the years worked off of numerous platforms, (ALF, Pierce, Sutphen, and Aerialscopes) I can tell you my dislikes and what I like of them all, I will say of all the Platforms I have worked off of I like the ALF the best and Aerialscopes the worst. But that is a topic for a different thread.

    When working off a platform you need to be outside the confines of the platform and depending on the platform you are either hanging out an open door or physically on the roof since none of the platforms (except ALF) give you any thing to stand on, on the outside of the platform. Trying to cut a roof hanging over the top of the structure of the platform is near impossible.

    To give you a little back ground on our run area. In our case 85% of our run area is residential, with 75 % of the houses being 2 ½ story dwellings. The rest of the house’s being single story Ranch style dwellings. 45% of the house’s in are run area have roofs of 6/12 pitch or less.

    While working on a straight ladder I can stay on the ladder and cut a roof if needed. At a minimum I can always if needed keep one foot on the ladder if needed. As for pitched roofs with extreme pitches we use a roof ladder and always tie off to the ladder. For commercial/ industrial flat roofs it does not matter weather you have a platform or straight ladder you must be on the roof to do your cuts. With commercial/industrial roofs with the equipment required to cut a roof a platform is nice to haul the equipment to the roof however since most commercial/industrial roofs have some type of parapet wall you then have to get the equipment from the platform to the roof where as with straight ladders you don’t usually have as far to go from the tip to roof.

    I guess what it comes down to is what you prefer! I hope that answer your questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief1FF View Post
    depending on the platform you are either hanging out an open door or physically on the roof since none of the platforms (except ALF) give you any thing to stand on, on the outside of the platform. Trying to cut a roof hanging over the top of the structure of the platform is near impossible.
    First, no problem on how long it took to get back on this. I know that fianlly most manufacturers are finally seeing the light on adding the outside step/lip on their buckets. When we specced our new tower this was a critical issue. If it didn't have a lip edge we wouldn't buy it! That easy! Sorry Sutphen and nop Peirce dumpster buckets. But, we did find Peirce, ALF, KME, and Aerialscope/Segrave all offered decent fot hold/ledges. The E-One lip edge was only on the front making it far less appealing, maybe that will eveolve for them?
    Quote Originally Posted by Chief1FF View Post
    To give you a little back ground on our run area. In our case 85% of our run area is residential, with 75 % of the houses being 2 ½ story dwellings. The rest of the house’s being single story Ranch style dwellings. 45% of the house’s in are run area have roofs of 6/12 pitch or less.
    Sounds just about like us, except 80% or more of the roffs are greater than 6/12 pitch.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chief1FF View Post
    While working on a straight ladder I can stay on the ladder and cut a roof if needed. At a minimum I can always if needed keep one foot on the ladder if needed. As for pitched roofs with extreme pitches we use a roof ladder and always tie off to the ladder. For commercial/ industrial flat roofs it does not matter weather you have a platform or straight ladder you must be on the roof to do your cuts. With commercial/industrial roofs with the equipment required to cut a roof a platform is nice to haul the equipment to the roof however since most commercial/industrial roofs have some type of parapet wall you then have to get the equipment from the platform to the roof where as with straight ladders you don’t usually have as far to go from the tip to roof.
    On the commercial side, you're right, it really doesn't matter 'cause you got to get on the roof to do anything. With the pitched roofs what you like is what we felt we could do better from the tower's lip edge. I'd note that our SOP says you must be wearing a ladder belt and clipped to the bucket with the Tower Tether straps (4-6 ft. long) In the end it does seem to come down to what you're comfortable with.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chief1FF View Post
    I guess what it comes down to is what you prefer! I hope that answer your questions.
    I couldn't agree more. I appreciate your answers. I'm always interested in this "debate" as we debated this heavily in our dept. before buying a tower to replace a stick.

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