Ladder Company Tools Study Guide for McGraw-Hill's Firefighter Exams
The ladder company apparatus also has a wide array of tools to aid the firefighter in completing firefighting tasks. Some of these tools include ladders, ropes, forcible entry tools, ventilation fans, and tarps.
Hand-operated (ground) portable ladders are tools used by firefighters to reach areas that cannot be accessed by normal means. They come in a variety of lengths, from less than 10 feet to more than 50 feet.
Ladders commonly used by firefighters are listed below.
Single (Straight) Ladder—A ladder that is nonadjustable in length and consists of only one section, a single (straight) ladder generally ranges in length from 12 to 24 feet and can be placed into operation by one firefighter acting alone. A single straight ladder is used for quick access to the roofs and windows of two-story structures.
Extension Ladder—A ladder that is adjustable in length and generally consists of one or more movable sections beyond the base, an extension ladder uses a rope (halyard) and pulley system for extension and retraction. It ranges in length from 24 to 50 feet and is usually placed in operation by two or more firefighters.
Combination Ladder—A ladder designed to be used three ways—single, extension, and A-frame; a combination ladder ranges in length from 8 to 14 feet.
Roof Ladder—A single, straight ladder with folding hooks attached to the beams at the top end that grab the roof ridge pole. A roof ladder is designed to allow firefighters to work atop and ventilate peaked roofs.
Folding (Suitcase) Ladder—A single, straight ladder with hinged rungs allowing it to be folded for carrying through narrow spaces like hallways and to access tight spaces such as closets. A folding, or suitcase, ladder comes equipped with nonslip, safety shoes at its butt end.
Pole Ladder—A pole ladder is a maximum length extension ladder having stay poles attached to the outside of each beam for enhanced stability.
Pompier (Scaling) Ladder—A single beam ladder with rungs extending out on both sides, a pompier ladder is designed to be inserted into windows to allow firefighters to climb building facades. It is not designed to rest on the ground. It has a large hook at the top that is inserted into a window and ranges in length from 6 feet to 20 feet. (The word pompier means firefighter in French.)
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