Emptying the Bed: Aggressive Ground Ladders

When it comes to using ladders on the fire-ground, there seems to be a lot of information in fire service textbooks that doesn’t always correspond to how we actually use ladders. A little “street knowledge” goes a long way when we talk about operating with reduced staffing, estimating the throw, laddering uneven terrain, victim in the window vs victim inside the window. This hands-on class will provide the students with “tactical” laddering skills often overlooked on the training ground.  

Ground ladders are an important tool on the fire-ground and found on both truck and engine companies. They are raised to rescue civilians and for the safety of our crews. They cannot be trained on as simply another “tool”. Even with a truck company on the scene of a structure fire, there is no guarantee that the aerial ladder will be able to reach the building. Access may be blocked by trees, power lines, police vehicles or an improperly placed engine company, but roofs still need to be opened, and people still need to be rescued. Too often, the easiest or lightest ladders are pulled first and the most convenient windows are initially laddered. By increasing our efficiency and effectiveness we will begin to shift the focus onto priority laddering not convenience laddering. 

This 1-day course will bridge the gap between the training-ground and the fire-ground.


  • Setting up the rig for quick and effective removal.
  • Care and maintenance.
  • De-bedding ladders.
  • Carries and drags.
  • Priority Laddering.
  • Engine only ladders.
  • One and two person carries and drags.
  • One and two person raises.
  • Ladders angles and mechanics.
  • Uneven terrain.
  • Ladder placement on the building.
  • Laddering for victims (FF and civilian) in the window and combating the unexpected victim actions.
  • Being comfortable with the big ladders (28’ and 35’).
  • Individual Body Position: Emphasizing the dangers and inefficiency of the certain body mechanics.
  • The proper use of hand-tools while entering a window to avoid victim injury. 
  • Vent Enter Isolate and Search techniques.
  • Instructors will stress the importance of isolating search crews from conditions through interior and exterior door control to protect from changing flow paths and rapid-fire progression.