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  • Aerial tower vs. ladder

    Tonight at the station I was reading one of the firefighting industry magazines that one usually finds around a fire station. I forget which one it was, but it had an article about some new apparatus my county (Howard County, MD) recently took delivery of from Pierce. There was a sidebar that listed how many of each kind of apparatus the county has, and there was a listing for "Aerial Tower (2)" and "Aerial Ladder (2)".

    I meant to ask someone this before I left, but forgot to do so. What is the difference between an aerial tower and an aerial ladder?
    -Justin J. "JJR512" Rebbert

    The comments and opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any employer or volunteer organization with which I am associated. Nobody is responsible for anything I say other than I alone.

  • #2
    In the most generic sense, a tower has a platform for firefighters to stand in, and the aerial is simply a ladder.
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    • #3
      Ah, I see. Thank you very much!
      -Justin J. "JJR512" Rebbert

      The comments and opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any employer or volunteer organization with which I am associated. Nobody is responsible for anything I say other than I alone.

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      • #4
        Wow.........
        RK
        cell #901-494-9437

        Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

        "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


        Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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        • #5
          And here I thought that I was clueless....

          Not to bust your balls JJR512, but how long have you been a FF??? Or are you a FF???

          FM1
          I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

          Originally posted by EastKyFF
          "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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          • #6
            Nope, not yet. Former EMT, let my certification lapse, retaking EMT now, and will be starting firefighter training early next year.
            -Justin J. "JJR512" Rebbert

            The comments and opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any employer or volunteer organization with which I am associated. Nobody is responsible for anything I say other than I alone.

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            • #7
              Aerial ladder - AKA just a ladder, a truck, etc. The 'aerial' part is just a ladder. We use 100' tillers, think we have also used (in the long past) both mid-mount and rear-mount straight trucks. We also do have one Quint which is a straight stick [EDIT:rearmount] but also has pump/hose/etc.

              ******

              Aerial platform - the 'aerial' has a platform at the end that is usually what a FF works from, often has a pre-piped waterway, and comes in differing forms:

              Snorkel - Kinda looks like a 'cherry picker' (think phone/cable/electric truck) on steroids, has only a bucket at the end of an articulating (knuckled) boom with no means to climb up/down.

              Tower Ladder - has a bucket at the end of a telescopic boom, and also has a "ladder" on top of the boom that you only want to use if you HAVE to, ie., an escape ladder. No longer in use in my dept.

              Ladder Tower - Has a bucket at the end of what otherwise looks like a regular "ladder truck" ladder.

              (NB - these are the terms as my dept. uses them, regional vernacular and/or variations may apply)
              Last edited by mrpita; 11-24-2010, 04:38 AM. Reason: clarity
              Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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              • #8
                Ah, thanks, mrpita. I've heard the term "snorkel" used many times on Emergency! and always wondered what that meant (usually Capt. Stanley would ask over the radio for one to be sent).

                So for a snorkel or a "tower ladder", I guess the firefighter has to climb into the bucket before it's raised?
                -Justin J. "JJR512" Rebbert

                The comments and opinions I express are solely my own and do not necessarily represent those of any employer or volunteer organization with which I am associated. Nobody is responsible for anything I say other than I alone.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JJR512 View Post
                  So for a snorkel or a "tower ladder", I guess the firefighter has to climb into the bucket before it's raised?
                  Snorkel, definitely. Tower Ladder, I suppose it'd be possible (in an emergency) to climb up to it, but I wouldn't want to; the ladder didn't have side rails like a regular ladder does. They're before my time, so I really don't know.

                  One of our old TLs, TL18:
                  Attached Files
                  Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JJR512 View Post
                    Ah, thanks, mrpita. I've heard the term "snorkel" used many times on Emergency! and always wondered what that meant (usually Capt. Stanley would ask over the radio for one to be sent).

                    So for a snorkel or a "tower ladder", I guess the firefighter has to climb into the bucket before it's raised?
                    precisely .....apparently "yep" is too short of a reply

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JJR512 View Post
                      Tonight at the station I was reading one of the firefighting industry magazines that one usually finds around a fire station. I forget which one it was, but it had an article about some new apparatus my county (Howard County, MD) recently took delivery of from Pierce. There was a sidebar that listed how many of each kind of apparatus the county has, and there was a listing for "Aerial Tower (2)" and "Aerial Ladder (2)".

                      I meant to ask someone this before I left, but forgot to do so. What is the difference between an aerial tower and an aerial ladder?
                      There is always this thing called Google(AND RESEARCH). A TOWER(Platform) is a LADDER with a "bucket"(Platform) on the end. AND while a "ladder" is usually rated at 250# or 500#, a PLATFORM(Tower)is at LEAST 1000#. T.C.

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                      • #12
                        A Snorkel is technically classified as an articulating platform in most Firefighter I texts.
                        Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                          A Snorkel is technically classified as an articulating platform in most Firefighter I texts.
                          And, of course, the first snorkel was a "cherry picker", modified for firefighting.
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JJR512 View Post
                            Ah, thanks, mrpita. I've heard the term "snorkel" used many times on Emergency! and always wondered what that meant (usually Capt. Stanley would ask over the radio for one to be sent).

                            So for a snorkel or a "tower ladder", I guess the firefighter has to climb into the bucket before it's raised?
                            Extra Wow......
                            RK
                            cell #901-494-9437

                            Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

                            "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


                            Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Really??

                              God forbid someone comes on here looking for an answer from firefighters instead of relying on Wikki or some other hack site for his answers. At least he didn't ask about what lid is better or smooth-bore vs fog. To the OP, don't be afraid to ask questions, even if people with the knowledge and know how make you feel like a azz. There will always be a few of those in the firehouse as well, just roll with it.
                              -Rob
                              Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for a friend.

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