Head-first ladder bailouts


In rapidly deteriorating conditions, a properly performed head-first ladder bailout can be life saver. Here are some important fundamentals to prevent injuries during the procedure:

  • Place the ladder at an angle less than 75 degrees to allow for greater control and prevent slipping
  • Place the tip of the ladder just below the window sill so the exit area is kept open and the firefighter can keep low
  • Exterior teams should position ladders on upper floor windows to provide alternate exit for interior companies in the event of an emergency
  • Have a crew or member available to heel ladders or reposition ladders in the event the firefighter is in a window over from the ladder
  • Communicate and listen; know where crews are operating and adjust accordingly
  • Be proactive
  • When training, make sure you use rated safety line and a rated safety harness assembly on the firefighter and inspect all ropes and harnesses in use prior to training

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