Everyone is Watching…Ladder Operations

Today’s social media such as YouTube has created the phenomena of “armchair” fire buffs.

I admit that upon occasion I indulge in checking out what the brothers (sisters) have been facing. Two things jumped out at me the other evening. As with everything else almost every fire scene was being videoed by several professionals, many armatures and just about every bystander that showed up.

Fortunately, the general public does not generally know or understand the process of firefighting. Actually, the larger the fire and more equipment involved the more impressed they become.

Unfortunately, for those of us who have some training and the prospective of experience, many of the fire ground situations don’t go as well as they might. To a good degree it appears that a good amount of the fire extension is due to less than adequate ladder operations as they relate to ventilation procedures.

While large metro departments have the luxury of having ladder companies that focus on and train on ventilation, smaller and volunteer departments usually don’t have the same expertise. Such training does require more than dragging a few hose lines and raising ladders. Special props have to be constructed. In additional research should be conducted to determine the different roof structures existing in the departments coverage area.

The most important action is for the training officer to set up specific ladder operations training. Obviously, there are a number of training videos online. As a suggestion, one of the best series of ventilation basics is offered by the Arizona Ladder Operations Cadre and is available at: https://youtu.be/XD4hT_GSiHs.

Pete Adams
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