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Portable ladders serve many purposes when used safely

Submitted by FireRescue1 Columnist Fred LaFemina

Portable ladders help firefighters accomplish tasks such as ventilation, entry and search. Used properly they will assist the operation and minimize injuries to members operating on the ladder.

Tip: If you're about to climb a ladder, make sure other firefighters secure it so it does not move or fall. When the ladder is not in use, secure it at the tip. Climb ladders on the balls of your feet. Your hands should grasp the underside of the beams, and your eyes should always look up or forward-not down. If carrying a tool, balance it with the carrying hand while holding on to the underside of the beam. Do not carry tools close to the body or inside the ladder beams, because if you drop the tool, you could injure fellow firefighters below. Always maintain enough hand control to ensure safety. A greater physical effort is required when climbing vertical ladders because missing a step results in a fall straight down. On the other hand, if you slip on a ladder angled into an objective, you would fall toward the ladder rather than straight down.

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