How tall is your biggest aerial, and is it the right size for your jurisdiction?
From rural communities where a 75-footer is plenty to urban districts with buildings 500 feet tall, FireRescue1 readers weighed in on which aerials work for them
We asked our FR1 Facebook readers to weigh in on how the size of their aerials fit with their jurisdiction. From rural communities where a 75-footer is plenty, to urban districts where 105 feet doesn’t cut it when buildings are close to 500 feet tall, and taking into consideration factors like property setbacks, it’s clear that every city and town has different needs. Here’s a look at what’s out there, what works, and what doesn’t.
1. “One hundred and three feet. It is good seeing how the tallest building of our jurisdiction is five stories above ground. There are many things that need to be considered in choosing an aerial’s height.” — Tyler Ashman
2. “We just took delivery of a 75-foot, the very first for our area and department. It will serve our needs perfectly!” — Russ Gregston
3. “One hundred and five feet. Our tallest buildings are around 500-feet tall. Most of the time anything above the sixth floor cannot be reached. We carry rope bags on our BA’s for bailouts, at least getting you below the fire floor. We also have two helicopters for rescues above the fire floor if necessary. I have had to break out a highrise window once and let me tell you, it is not easy and it takes time. Consider this in your bailout plan.” — Scar Pizzo
4. “One-hundred foot Pierce platform. Our jurisdiction is primarily residential, with several large churches and schools. We also have a large industrial facility, PPG industries, a commercial glass manufacturing company. I field a lot of questions from our customers as to why we need such a tall ladder truck in our community. I explain to them that even though we don’t have 10-story buildings, we need to be able to reach a roof top from the street for ventilation, as well as the need for elevated streams occasionally. I also explain it makes rescue from upper floors much easier to perform. I personally feel a platform is easier to work from and much safer for firefighters and those we are sworn to protect.” — Craig A Rohman
5. “Seventy five feet, and reach is not enough due to wide streets and property set backs.” — Jeff Sander
6. “Ninety-five foot rear mount tower. It’s too big.” — Joshua Mahar
7. “Don’t have one... The departments to the west, south and north of us each have at least one. So if we need one, we call for mutual aid.” — Russell Owsley
8. “One hundred and five feet. We have the only one in our entire county.” — Matt Copenhaver
9. “Our tallest is a 55-footer and it’s definitely not tall enough, as we have a couple four and five-story resorts in my town. We are much overdue for a new, taller one, but it keeps getting pushed off because ‘we don’t have enough money.’ But I have a feeling that if it keeps getting pushed back, we’re going to find out the hard way that we need a bigger, newer aeriel.” — Cody Schmitt
10. “One-hundred foot platform that was bought and donated by a local couple after a new hospital was built; will work great.” — Raymond Hossfeld
11. “Eighty-five foot rear mount platform ... totally wrong for our area ... should be a midmount for maneuverability. And it’s too short to reach our highest building by 8 feet or so.” — Justin Martin
12. “Just remember when buying, sometimes you are forgetting how far back some of your structures are instead of just the height of the structure. Would recommend at least a 100-foot ladder or platform!” — Frank Maule