Aerial Ladder vs Tower Ladder
My department is exploring the possibility of replacing our aging aerial ladder (105' Tiller) with a tower. The committee meetings and the kitchen table coffee clutches are buzzing with the pro and cons of each type. Tactical considerations, drivability, staffing issues with the loss of the tiller man etc.
What is your opinion? It would be great to get solid information from outside the department as well. Thanks brothers.
Pros & cons of Tower ladder - comments
We are just placing a newly acquired mid-mount tower in service. It has become necessary to re-educate chief officers and captains in placement. This LT uses 19' 6" of roadway width when the outriggers are fully extended. Most times on residential fires it is necessary to keep the rig to the outside, away from the fire and reach over the engine or hose line placement. narrow streets require short jacking on the side away from the fire. This is the exact opposite of what has taken place for the past 40 years. (75' Snorkel)
On high rise and heavy industrial, the ideal placement is 35' from the face of the building, or on a corner where any access points would be greater than 33 feet from the turntable.
Weight has also become a factor in the travel routes and placement, particularly in the more rural areas of the district. The new apparatus weighs in at 78,500 fully loaded. About 25,000 on the front axle and 53,000 on the tandems. Engineers must be trained to avoid any low weight bridges, culverts, etc. We have places where loaded tractor-trailer combinations can easily pass, but where we are borderline or overweight for the location.
Please don't take these comments to be negative, but had we understood all of the implications concerning operational requirements, we might have made a different decision on type and amount of equipment specified on this quint.