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Fire Engine Photos
No: 10723   Contributor: Yelp Bullhorn   Year: 2008   Manufacturer: Scania   Country: United Kingdom

DX55 AAV: The 'business end' of Day-Crewed Scania P94DB-260/John Dennis RESCUE LADDER based at Kidsgrove.
Picture added on 06 September 2008
add commentComments:
Can anyone describe or explain the different and rather complicated-looking suite of ladders piled up on the roof of this appliance?

Added by Rob Johnson on 12 April 2018.
Hey Rob. It does look a bit of a complicated mess, I agree, but it is quite straightforward really. Nearest to the camera, on the bottom, on an easy access sliding gantry system, is a three-piece short extension 'general purpose' ladder. In the UK they can range from approximately 5.5 to 7.5 metres in length/workable height. Above that is a two-piece roof ladder, with its two small wheels to allow it to be pushed up the slope of the roof, and its folding hook which is positioned over the apex of the roof to provide the required anchorage for a firefighter to climb up onto a sloped roof. In the central gantry is the 13.7 metre triple extension main ladder. Some brigades will have a two-piece 10.5 metre ladder on the far side too, but Staffordshire's pump ladders do not. I do believe that many brigades have a step-ladder stowed somewhere too, either up on the roof, or a folding variety in one of the lockers. This is used by firefighters when fitting smoke alarms on home visits. Hope this helps.

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 18 April 2018.

Now this is no longer a mystery! It seems that British brigades do carry a much wider variety of ladders on their pumps than most other countries.

But the "old-fashioned" hook ladders and scaling ladders are apparently now long gone. In France, where the hook ladder was invented, they are still on every pump - and frequently used - while in Germany and other Northern European countries the scaling ladder is still popular. There is now even a Swedish four section carbon fiber version, which has barely any overlap between sections and can reach around 10 meters instead of the alloy's 8.4!

As I am sure you know, most pumpers here carry only a 7.3 meter ladder and a roof ladder. Everything else is on a dedicated ladder truck, which also has an aerial, tower or platform - although in some departments they have a pump, water tank and hoses too.

Having said that, some rural departments which cannot afford an aerial do often add extra ground ladders on one of their pumpers, but usually nothing over 10.5 or 12 meters.

The most amazing ladder trucks are in Chile, and I think pretty much unique to that country. Often built on bus chassis, they have a center aisle body festooned on each side with an amazing collection of ladders! You can see several examples on this site.

I guess nobody has figured out the perfect way to do this - and different situations in different countries call for a variety of approaches. Not to mention tradition!

Added by Rob Johnson on 19 April 2018.
Rob, if you want to see a Staffordshire pumping appliance with an almost identical ladder inventory -- but before the health & safety purveyors of nonsense decreed that it was far too dangerous for a firefighter to climb up the back of a fire appliance to retrieve a ladder, and hence brigades were forced to add various automated retrieval systems -- see picture #10728. The Dennis RS in that picture is sporting pretty much the same set of ladders, apart from its roof ladder is a one-piece variety rather than the folding two-piece sort pictured above on the current Scania. When you look at the old RS it's plainly obvious to see how much of the Scania's ladder arrangement is not in fact ladder at all!

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 24 April 2018.
Yelp - its a lot easier to load the ground ladders (and suctions, ceiling hooks, etc) on a simple powered roof rack, like they have already been doing in the Netherlands and many other places for twenty years or more. They can be powered by compressed air, hydraulics or an electric motor - and have a redundant power mechanism so they are foolproof.

They not only make it quicker and easier to get the equipment off the roof, they also make replacing items a lot less work!

I think I may have seen some of the newer British appliances with this feature recently, but it has taken a long time....

Added by Rob Johnson on 25 April 2018.
Rob - since you are on the subject of ladders can you explain how the wooden stacking ladders work that are on eastern European trucks?

Added by Les Davis on 27 April 2018.
Les - they fit into each other, as they have a slight taper and a socket system. The base ladder is 2.7 meters long, and a complete set usually includes three additional ladders. Depending on how many are joined together, the total overall length can be 4.6, 6.5 or 8.4 meters.

In most countries, these are either wood or more often light alloy, but in Sweden a carbon fiber version is in use. This loses less length when sections are joined, and can reach around 11 meters.

The individual sections of these can of course be used whenever and wherever a short ladder is needed, so the system is rather flexible - and three sections can also be configured as a bridging ladder as required.

I suggest you Google "steckleiter feuerwehr" and take a look at the images. These show both some schematics and some interesting applications.

They are a required item on structural pumpers in Germany, but are used extensively in other northern and central European countries. They were once commonplace in the UK too, but seem to have died out...

Added by Rob Johnson on 02 May 2018.
Thank you Rob

Added by Les Davis on 03 May 2018.
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