If you are thinking about becoming a firefighting professional, chances are you already know that ladder climbing can be difficult. A firefighter usually has to climb ladders during emergency situations and sometimes climbs in very tight spaces. Therefore, firefighters must develop their skills in order to become proficient enough to complete the job safely.
Here are 8 firefighter ground ladder tips that every firefighter should know:
Use proper safetyprocedures when using ground ladders.
All steps must be followed or the ladder will collapse under the weight of the firefighter. First, the firefighter must make sure the ladder is not damaged or bent. The firefighter then needs to look out for any potential hazards such as power lines, trees, buildings and other structures.
Once all hazards are avoided, the firefighter must inspect the ladder from head to toe for any possible injuries before climbing.
Remain aware of surroundings while climbing the ladder
The firefighter must remain aware of his/her surroundings all the time. They need to constantly watch the ladder and ensure that it remains stable at all times. While climbing the ladder, they must remember what lies above them and avoid any unnecessary risks.
Lastly, after climbing the ladder, the firefighter must check and make sure that nothing is blocking the ladder. If anything obstructs the ladder, he/she must remove it immediately before making another attempt.
A ladder with no rails or steps must be used if it is likely to fall off. The firefighter must also make sure the ladder is properly secured so that it cannot topple over. A ladder with no railings shall be used if it is more than three rungs.
3. Storage of ladder
The ladder must be stored away or in an area where there is some hazard like stairs, water, sharp objects or high voltage wires.
Firefighters must take necessary precautions while transporting the ladder, especially if it is very heavy. It is strongly recommended that each firefighter should carry a personal fire fighting toolkit in order to carry the ladder along with a fire extinguisher, spare hand tools, first aid kit, hose, oxygen supply tanks, rope ladder, etc.
Climbing the ladder should be done cautiously and slowly. The firefighter must step up onto the nearest rung. He/she then places one foot on the next rung. Then, the firefighter uses this foot to put pressure on the rung. The firefighter then lifts his/her leg, bringing him/her up the ladder.
The firefighter then moves the same foot onto the next rung and repeats the process. The firefighter then puts his/her foot on the last rung and holds on to the handrail. Finally, the firefighter takes two steps back down the ladder until he/she reaches the desired place.
Carrying a ladder
The firefighter must carry the ladder according to the rules, which are stated in the NFPA 1500 Standard Practice for Ladders. The firefighter should keep his/her feet together while walking with a ladder and keep two points of contact with each step at all times (one for each foot).
A firefighter should start walking from one point of contact with each step to maintain balance and stay safe. When carrying a heavy or long ladder, it is recommended that at least two people lift it together and use their feet to control its movement when going up or down stairs.
Before loading a ladder into a truck , firefighters should inspect it for any damage and make sure that it conforms to any local requirements for ladders as stated in NFPA 1500 Standard Practice for Ladders Chapter 9: Rigging Standards and Load Bearing Capacity Specifications for Ladders.
When loading a ladder into a truck, firefighters should ensure that they have enough manpower to safely carry out this task and make sure that they have enough space for all of their equipment as well as themselves while on route to an incident. Firefighters can load ladders into trucks by either side-loading or top-loading. Side-loading means that the ladder is loaded with the sides facing upward. Top-loading means that the ladder is loaded with the top facing upward.
When a ladder is being lifted into a truck, the person doing the lifting should stand underneath the ladder and hold the bottom of the ladder while another person stands at the top and holds the ladder. In order to prevent injury due to slipping on wet surfaces, the firefighter should wear waterproof boots before entering the truck. The firefighter should also wear gloves when loading the ladder.
The firefighter should avoid transporting the ladder in a prone position or one that is tilted. It is important that the firefighter’s feet are firmly attached to the ladder so that the ladder doesn’t move unexpectedly. Also, the firefighter should make sure that both hands are securely holding the ladder during transportation.
The firefighter should descend a ladder slowly and steadily. As the firefighter begins to lower himself/herself down, he/she should grip the handrail tightly to ensure stability and avoid falling. Once reaching the floor, the firefighter should use his/her knees and elbows to help stabilize the ladder.