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Public safety: Firefighters learn how to use 100-foot aerial ladder

Posted: April 1, 2010 10:44 p.m.
Updated: April 2, 2010 6:30 a.m.

The fire truck operator extends the truck's aerial ladder to accommodate off-duty firefighters an all-day seminar on the physics of an aerial ladder held at the Hyatt in Valencia on Thursday.

About 50 off-duty firefighters spent Thursday learning operate the 100-foot aerial ladder on what is commonly called a hook-and-ladder fire truck.

During the all-day seminar at the Hyatt Regency Valencia, the firefighters put classroom instruction about the physics of the aerial ladder, which is used to scale high buildings, into practice.

The men - from the Los Angeles city and county fire departments and some from Santa Barbara County - put their knowledge to work in the back of the hotel parking lot.

They huddled over scales as the 100-foot aerial ladder was elevated, rotated and extended. When it's at a 75-degree angle, it's ideal for climbing.

Keeping the ladder in a correct position is critical - if it's off, it might flip the truck over, said Battalion Chief James Robinson of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Santa Clarita Fire Station 126.

"The higher the angle is when you can put the most weight on it, and when it's straight out, less weight can go on it," Robinson said.

The fire truck, which cost about $650,000 in 1999, also carries ground ladders and the Jaws of Life, Robinson said. It accompanies fire engines, which carry the hoses and water.


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