Practical tip: aerial rescue operations in snow and ice

When Old Man Winter brings freezing temperatures, nothing is more inviting than a cozy living room. For fire departments, however, it is business as usual all winter long and around the clock. Proper preparation helps to avoid problems caused by weather. Travel to the scene alone can be hazardous due to icy streets or poor visibility, which oftentimes requires the use of snow chains. An adapted and proactive driving technique is indispensable in winter.

Setting up and using the turntable ladder

  • The surfaces under the jacking system and the front axle must be clear of snow and ice before setting up. A spade can be a very valuable tool in this case.
  • When clearing the surface, the sub-surface is also explored. This is necessary for uncovering manholes or other precarious surfaces. Sanding/salting such surfaces should be avoided if possible, because they may be susceptible to degradation as a result of the friction.
  • Winter can also hide hazards that affect turntable ladders. Slipping can have fatal consequences. Anti-slip coating on steps and platforms is very important in this case.
  • Ice and compacted snow should always be removed from walkways in order to avoid accidents.

Freezing water poses a risk to people and materials

Water can freeze quickly in icy temperatures. Therefore, water should always be moving through the lines and pumps.

  • If the turret on the cage is not being used, the supply lines should be drained of water. The same applies to all other lines.
  • Foresighted action is good practice here; the water can be dumped into the sewer, for example. Otherwise, icy surfaces pose a risk to the crew.
  • If fire fighting water freezes on the ground, the surface must be sanded/salted immediately. Sand or salt can be carried in an old, closable foam agent canister.
  • Washing the vehicle down after use prevents damage resulting from corrosion.
  • Fog may occur during extinguishing, which can lead to problems in winter. It is not just ice that can make surfaces slippery.
  • The surfaces of the ladder set can also become frozen, which may impair its movement. The formation of ice can be prevented by frequently moving the turntable ladder.

An optional seat heater is available for the turntable ladder main control panel, making work on winter days much more comfortable. Machinists truly appreciate this feature. Wind and weather cannot be influenced. The right equipment, however, makes operations in severe conditions easier and, above all, safer.