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  • heights

    How do you get over a fear of heights. I'd like to be a firefighter but I absolutely hate shaky ladders. Have any of you overcome this?

  • #2
    Hello? Anybody?

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    • #3
      i've been there, i even tryed hypnosis, didn't work like i thought it would. But it may have helped some, that and when going to college for fire technology we had high level rescue class. All the students had to rappel down at least once, most didn't have a problem with it, but i did. The instructor was great, he had me rappel from lower levels then worked up to the roof.

      The second thing that helped me get over my fear of heights and turn it into a respect, was the fact that I'm trying to get on a career department. In order to do that most of departments around here require you to climb a 100 ft areial ladder. If I really want to be a firefighter I needed to do this, that helped me build confidence.

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      • #4
        Practice

        You just gotta keep working it......
        Get someone to tie off a ladder for you and work on moving up and down, work up you speed and get a feel for how the ladder moves when it is tied down. Try a few leg locks so you can get used to leaning back with no hands (Start on the first 3 rungs to get the feel) - try this at the mid point of the ladder when you are feeling really confident.
        Once you feel confident on a tied off ladder, try loosening it off (still tied with some slack to prevent a sideways slide) and start again. You'll have a good idea on what the range of motion is and you should progress alot faster.....final stage is to do this with an untied ladder....have someone spot you (hold the ladder base for some of the bigger moves).
        Once you have done this, try loading up with a weight vest or backpack to simulate gear weight as the heavier you are the more a ladder tends to bounce as you move through the centre section.

        Best of luck

        P.S This worked for me - I grew up in a family buisness that cleans roof guttering and was always wary of ladders yet I regulalry hang of 200ft cliff on ropes without a second thought.....go figure but with a bit of work with another firey who had the same problem we had it kicked.

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        • #5
          Thank you for your advice guys and good wishes. Much appreciated. Scary stuff. lol

          At work last night I just stood up on one of the higher floors and looked down for a few minutes. I heard that a fear of heights is really a fear of falling so if I can convince myself that I'm safe and won't fall maybe I'll be ok. One time I was on a ladder though and my buddies were shaking it and it just scared the crap out of me.

          When you climb the 100 ft. aerial ladder do they just stick it straight up in the air? Thanks again and have a Merry Christmas. Best wishes and stay safe.

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          • #6
            Natural fear.

            Originally posted by hoosierdaddy View Post
            Thank you for your advice guys and good wishes. Much appreciated. Scary stuff. lol

            At work last night I just stood up on one of the higher floors and looked down for a few minutes. I heard that a fear of heights is really a fear of falling so if I can convince myself that I'm safe and won't fall maybe I'll be ok. One time I was on a ladder though and my buddies were shaking it and it just scared the crap out of me.

            When you climb the 100 ft. aerial ladder do they just stick it straight up in the air? Thanks again and have a Merry Christmas. Best wishes and stay safe.
            If they knew that shaking the ladder would scare you-they ain't your buddies--get the TL operator to just rest the head of the ladder against a solid object-no extension-climb it--you will be a bout 30/40ft above ground, just feel how solid this equipment is. Next get him to keep the ladder in the gantry -clip on-raise it about 10 degree's-drop it back the into gantry, realise that you need the elevation to ascend or descend. Get him to elevate to about 60 degree's and see how easy it is to climb or go down.
            Then get him to "punch" you into the sky slowly--the big fear is a psychological one--the ladder head is not resting against a physical object-so it feels wrong. If you are in a vollie setup they need you more than you need them-so it pays them to be a bit more understanding than a career crowd.
            Regards "Old Timer TL Operator"

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            • #7
              The angle on the ladder isn't so bad, its just the fact that your not used climbing 100 feet Also the rungs on a ladder truck are really weird spaced it always seems, maybe its just the size of the rungs. I do believe that 60 degree angle is standard to set the ladder for testing candidates in most departments. I'm not sure how much more of an angle a truck can be set at, anyone have that info???

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              • #8
                I'm taking the test for my city right now. They opened their traning facilty for potential recruits to practice for their PAT.

                They had their 100' aerial ladder set up. Ran it all the way up at a 70 degree angle.....just had it sitting in the middle of the training lot, not up against a building. Harnessed you up and let you climb. I'm not crazy about heights but scaled it...my adrenaline was definitely up during the climb. Just took it one step at a time, didn't rush and made it up and down safely. Even took a few seconds at the top to admire the view (heart thumping, of course.)

                Anyways, some good advice here from everyone....

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by firefighterbeau View Post
                  The angle on the ladder isn't so bad, its just the fact that your not used climbing 100 feet Also the rungs on a ladder truck are really weird spaced it always seems, maybe its just the size of the rungs. I do believe that 60 degree angle is standard to set the ladder for testing candidates in most departments. I'm not sure how much more of an angle a truck can be set at, anyone have that info???
                  From memory 72 degree's, full extension---for water tower.

                  Keep a wary eye on the inclinometer--weight and extension table.

                  All this has just been dredged up from the 1960's--we usually inclined to 72 -no extension-Ladder man climbed first section clipped on -extended right arm out when he was ready --you then fully extended.We had a so called "squark box" for communication between operator and monitor man-this item was as usefull as a ashtray on a motorbike.

                  Yes I understand that the Safety people have torn the a#se out of a lot of procedures-but this was in the days of live carry downs(drills) and you lowered real firemen not dummies, on a rescue line under foot.And no safety harness-you tied your own chair knot in the rescue line--confidence!
                  Last edited by 2andfrom; 12-23-2006, 11:01 PM. Reason: Addition

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                  • #10
                    Thank you for the posts everyone. They were very helpful.

                    Speaking of safety harnesses, years ago a firefighter in my city died before they used those. I'm glad they have them now. With all the equipment you guys carry along with the wind and maybe the ladder being wet, it is very dangerous. My utmost respect goes to all you firefighters out there, paid and volunteer. Merry Christmas.

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                    • #11
                      I had to do 75 feet at 70 degrees.

                      No harness.

                      They told us if we make it to the academy, we're doing 110 feet at 80 degrees every day.

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                      • #12
                        I didn't like heights when I first started, I'd only go halfway up on an extension ladder but it just takes a lot of practice, and the key is to really NOT look down. My advice is to start small, on an extension ladder. Takes time.

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                        • #13
                          It seems the higher you climb the aerial the closer you get to the ladder; almost hugging it. I was with my son one day when we were hiking to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite. The last leg is going up the back side where they have cables set up during the season.

                          As we were climbing a young lady was trying to back down. Her boy friend had gone ahead. I asked her if she wanted to go to the top? Yes, she answered. I told her I was a firefighter and a sky diver.

                          With a few simple instructions she could make the ascent. First, don’t look down. Try and establish a rhythm using smaller steps if needed (for a firefighter candidate have someone watch you climb to make sure the alternation of your hand and foot are optimum for climbing). Visualize yourself making it to the top. I reminded her of these ideas along the climb. As we got to the top, she ran to her boy friend with hugs and kisses. Hey, I was the one who was the hero, right?
                          Last edited by CaptBob; 12-26-2006, 12:36 PM.
                          _____________________________________________

                          "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

                          More Tips on getting hired and promoted by Firehouse Contributing Author Fire “Captain Bob” Articles here:
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                          Fire "Captain Bob"

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hoosierdaddy View Post
                            I heard that a fear of heights is really a fear of falling...
                            i think this is true. I climbed our deparments 85 ft. ladder at whatever the highest angle it can be set at... i wasn't scared of being up so high i was afraid of what would happen if i let go... we don't hook in with a safety harness until we are in the bucket..... i was stoked though when i got to the top... we were in town which is six miles from my house, and i could see the cell tower next to my house (which is a big deal when you live in the appalachian mountains... getting to see that far)

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                            • #15
                              I can climb a 75' as long as there is a target at the end, a roof, window etc. I can't climb it just to climb it.

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