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  1. #1
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    Default 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.


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Tillered aerial pros:
    Lots of room in the compartments.

    The original "4 wheel steering" can get you into places you can't go into with a straight stick or tower.

    You will always have the extra manpower in the form of the tiller driver.

    Tllered aerial cons:
    You have to have a sharp tiller driver, or it's accident city.
    If he's delayed at all in getting to the rig, the rig is delayed getting out of the station.

    Tower ladder pros:
    It is a safe working platform for fire ops and rescue situations... you can lower rescued persons to the street rather than have them climb down the ladder, and it frees up another firefighter from having to guide a rescued person down.

    Prepiped waterways make going defensive easy.

    Tower ladder cons:

    A tower ladder isn't as manuverable. If the bucket is in the rear (midmount), there is a large overhang area that invites accidents to happen. If it is a rear mounted tower, you haver the overhang in front of you. Approaching an intersection with an extra 5 or so feet hanging over the cab, you have to look out for drivers who are intimidated and may stop shortr and big trucks who's drivers many not be paying attention.

    Overall apparatus height increases with a tower... You really have to know the height restrictions on overpasses and weight restrictions on bridges.

    Not needing an additional person to drive the back end of a rig gives "the mutts" a reason to reduce manpower.
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  3. #3
    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Pro of the Platform = Sidewalk sweep.

    It's The M1A1 of fire apparatus.
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

    -J. Cantrell

  4. #4
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    Talking 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.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber JohnVBFD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BScott View Post
    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.
    Not knowing your first and second due area's, all I can ask is.....is there a reason you had the tiller in the first place? If the answer is yes, then you really don't have a choice.

    Here they opted not to fix our tiller and gave the ladder a straight stick. Having road tested another cities tiller against our straight stick, quite a few district chiefs saw first hand why we had a tiller in the first place.
    Co 11
    Virginia Beach FD

    Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

  6. #6
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    We just went with a midmount tower to replace a straight stick. We are convinced that the tower presents significant tactical advantages, of course not without give up some thing too though. But, as noted you have to be able to get the truck to the scene and in position.

    And if you're only justification for the extra man is to steer the tiller you're gonna lose him anyway. Hell there are a few places running a tiller with 2!? Truck company members duties can not be sacrificed just because the guy now rides in the cab.
    Last edited by RFDACM02; 05-13-2007 at 06:17 PM.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber jfTL41's Avatar
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    This is apples and oranges...

    The TL is a defensive tool, adequate at best for rescue purposes due to long set up times and governed boom/ladder speeds. If you plan on operating large caliber streams, the TL is the weapon of choice. If you plan on pulling up and picking distressed civilians out of windows, or getting someone up to the roof quickly, these are not the trucks for you.

    As the earlier post asked, why did you operate a tiller in the first place? If you have tight streets that necessitated having a TDA and you replace it with a TL regardless of RM or MM you will be doing alot of walking with portable ladders. This may also be the case if you go with an aerial ladder. These rigs are big, they may not be as big overall as a TDA but they are no where near as maneuverable.
    Considerations regardless of what your committe decide should include:
    Building types, street conditions size and weight constrictions...
    Type of Ladder, Aerial vs TL or LT (open or closed boom)
    Midmount or Rear mount
    Capacity
    Waterway (do you want/need one?)
    Set up - speed, jack spread, short jacking ability...
    Tactics - what is the intended use for this rig.
    Portable ladders - think ergonomics, spec the ladders you will use not the package they want to provide. think about how the ladders will be bedded on the rig (you carry the ladders on their side, shouldn't they be in that position when you pull them out of the rig?)

    Hope my rambling helps, good luck.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Tillered Tower.

    Problem solved.

  9. #9
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    "This is apples and oranges..."
    Ditto.
    I've worked off of both and each have their pros and cons but not to the point where one canceled out the other.
    While working from the bucket is good, I've seen the tiller access areas the tower couldn't.

    "Tactical considerations, drivability, staffing issues with the loss of the tiller man etc."
    Not knowing your department's staffing (paid, volunteer, combination), staffing has the greatest impact. If you are minus the tillerman, and no one else can drive, then your rig is out of service. Just as well, if your new "seating for eight" (or how many) tiller gets out with only four personnel, then the tillerman may well have to be either the barman or the hook and can.
    Same appplies to your career staff (if you have them) and if they have to staff all the apparatus in your house. Will an ambulance call pull two guys from the truck? If so, then on a later fire call your tiller goes out with two less. Hopefully everyone working can tiller.

    Apparatus choice should definitely include your staffing and response area.
    "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

  10. #10
    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by emt161 View Post
    Tillered Tower.

    Problem solved.
    Didn't Sutphen try that concept once?
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

    -J. Cantrell

  11. #11
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    I have been working on a truck company for about 4 years now, currently we have a 2006 Pierce Dash 100' mid-mount platform, great ride but I am not the biggest fan. It presents itself with a few issues being mid-mount. The major one is we have a lot of tight parking lots and such in our area where it would be ideal to back the truck in, swing the boom around, and put the wet stuff on the red stuff. With this unit being mid-mounted we can not even reach the structures from the same location becuase the ladder is shortened by being mounted in the middle opposed to the rear. With our previous ladder this was not an issue (1985 simon-lti 102' platform). Our station is approx. 105 years old and is not built to house the larger scale apparatus of today, in 85 our platform was just low-ride enough to clear the bay doors but todays rear-mount just sit to high for our building. Hense the reason we are now sitting with a truck that can be useless in some parts of our coverage area. Thanks and stay safe.
    Gary
    Firefighter/EMT-B
    -------------------
    Stay Safe
    Leather Forever......F.O.O.L.S.

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