LADDER PIPE OPERATIONS
A ladder pipe is a master stream device used in conjunction with aerial ladders. They can be pre-plumbed or detachable. Ladder pipes can be operated manually by a firefighter at the tip of the aerial, or by remote control from the turntable.
Aerial apparatus should be spotted outside of the collapse zone of the involved structure. Ladder pipe streams have considerable reach so rarely is it necessary to spot the apparatus close to the building to put streams on the fire.
The ideal angle for the ladder is 70-75 degrees during ladder pipe operations. This will allow a safe climbing angle, while directing most of the load from the nozzle reaction vertically down. The ladder should be raised to no more than 80 percent of its height.
The ladder should be positioned and raised prior to any personnel climbing the ladder. Moving the ladder after ladder pipe operations begin is not advised except:
- To rotate the operator away from
- To rotate the ladder to position the stream inline with the main body of fire. Rotation should be done slowly and smoothly. The ladder pipe is capable of sideways rotation 15 degrees in each direction. This function should be used for fine adjustment only. The safest position for the stream is always directly inline with the
Smooth bore nozzles are preferable to fog nozzles in all but a few specific cases:
- Smooth bore nozzles provide excellent reach and penetration
- Require less nozzle pressure
- Are easy to visually check for proper flow and nozzle
Fog nozzles may be appropriate for exposure protection when using ladder pipes.
Key operational points for operating ladder pipes
- Care must be taken when operating water control valves for ladder pipes. Valves should be opened and closed
- If water supply permits, the tip normally used is 1 ¾” (800 GPM)
- Effective communication between the pump and the ladder operator will ensure a properly supplied