Video: Fire recruits told 'if you can climb this, you can climb anything'
R.I. fire recruits go through rigorous ladder training to build confidence with heights
By Alisha A. Pina
The Providence Journal
MOON ISLAND, Mass. — Fifty-five fire department trainees from Providence spent a day high above Boston Harbor. The goal was to build confidence with the climbing tools of their trade.
The most challenging drills — they climbed an unsupported, 110-foot aerial ladder on day one — are given early in the academy because instructors say they need to know who can't follow directions or handle heights and tight spaces.
Director of Training Capt. Scott G. Mello says the drill with a center pole pompier ladder is used to build confidence, teach trainees to trust their equipment and test their mental and physical strength. Providence and Boston are among a handful of departments in the United States that still practice the dangerous task.