Tower Ladders

The Tower Ladder is the most versatile type of aerial apparatus. It is especially useful in employing aggressive firefighting operations. Not only can more be done from the tower ladder vs. straight stick, but it also can be done safer! The purchase of the tower ladder and its long life after refurbishment are a true investment in operational capabilities and firefighter safety. Here are 10 tips in regards to Tower Ladder Operations.

  1. The Stang Gun which is “fix mounted” in the basket provides a truly “portable” appliance capable of being rapidly deployed and moved based on the needs of the incident commander. Whether deployed above grade or below the ability of the master stream to be relocated at a moments notice is in valuable.
    2. When positioning on private dwellings place the turntable at a corner of the building. This will allow you to scrub two sides of the building and reach the bedroom windows to the front and one side. The stabilization system of the aerialscope allow for it to operate “off road”, in a much easier fashion than traditional aerial devices. Care must be taken when the truck is “beached” no to allow for the vehicle to become trapped or even sink. Going off the paved surface should be limited to those situations where there exists a defined need to use the platform for extended firefighting or rescue situations.
    3. Position outside the collapse area and directly in front for commercial storefronts or strip malls. This will allow you to use the Stang Gun as a portable master stream. The tower can reach and hit more angles than the Deck Gun or Portable Monitor.
    4. The tower basket provides a stationary base of operations that can be relied upon when uncertainty exists as to the stability of roof. Members are afforded to opportunity to limit the amount of weight applied to an impaired structure and still perform tasks necessary to improve conditions for those firefighters operating within a structure.
    5. The tower ladder platform can support incredible amounts of weight while still flowing at maximum capacity of 1500 g.p.m. The “box-boom” construction of the tower sections provides superior strength to weight rations when compared to traditional ladder based tower options.
    6. Although it may seem like a straight stick can be put in service faster, keep these things in mind. As the straight stick is being positioned, firefighters must wait to ascend the aerial, with a tower they are in the bucket ready to go. With the aerial ladder firefighters must carry saws and tools up to the roof slowing down their climb. On the tower firefighters will have these tools on floor and will not have to carry them, allowing them to be rested as they arrive at their workplace.
    7. When attempting to pull box gutters, siding, or clear windows at low angles on the aerial ladder the firefighter must balance himself on the rungs while swinging tools. Additionally when repositioning to another window or area he or she must pause their work and be extremely careful as the ladder is extended or retracted to reach the target. A towers platform allows you to stand firmly with rails enclosing you and a belt and repositioning is right at your fingertips while you continue to work.
    8. The aerial ladder provides a continuous path of egress? This is often said, however if you have one old grandma that you need to bring down an aerial ladder you will create a rush hour traffic jam! Additionally if too many people attempt to exit onto the aerial ladder and someone slows the decent halfway down this will overload a 500lbs tip very quickly! So this statement may be true for getting trained firefighters down but not victims. The tower ladder will remove fire victims faster under most circumstances.
    9. How do you remove the unconscious or injured victim after they are at the turntable of an aerial ladder? The tower can be positioned at ground level!!!
    10. The Tower Ladder offers an excellent elevated purchase point for both above and below grade rescue applications. Its uses are only limited by the imagination of the responding crew and incident commander. With its extraordinary tip load and ability to execute very fine movements, the tower ladder’s abilities show why it is a superior choice.


In closing we wanted to give the readers an opportunity to see some of the benefits of this truly versatile device. In future articles we will explore many of these tips in detail.