Peterborough firefighters test their ladder truck skills

  • Members of the Peterborough Fire Department completed their final practical for operating the ladder truck downtown on Oct. 21. Courtesy photo by Jon Sawyer—

  • Members of the Peterborough Fire Department completed their final practical for operating the ladder truck downtown on Oct. 21. Courtesy photo by Jon Sawyer—

  • Members of the Peterborough Fire Department completed their final practical for operating the ladder truck downtown on Oct. 21. Courtesy photo by Jon Sawyer—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/28/2019 10:58:33 AM

Members of the Peterborough Fire Department conducted their final practical for operating the ladder truck downtown last week. 

Fire Lieutenant John Sawyer said the test, held on Oct. 21, was a culmination of a monthlong training on the ladder truck, after more than twenty hours of training and classes involving other firefighting apparatus like pumps and tankers.

“It looks like it’s easy but it’s not,” Sawyer said of driving the ladder truck, and that four members of the department took the test on Monday night, climbing up and down the ladder to check its placement against the targeted window. “They put in a lot of hours to learn a lot of stuff.”

There is no current shortage of ladder truck drivers, he said, “but you have to constantly fill the well.”

Sawyer estimates that the ladder truck gets used about ten times a month.

Three of the four members became probationary ladder truck drivers for the Department after the practicum. Sawyer said that members self-select for specialized training.

“It helps with their promotions down the line, they have skills in more areas,” he said.

Members can also complete trainings for other situations like extrications, rapid intervention (standing by to rescue other firefighters), and swiftwater and ice rescues.

“It’s endless,” he said, adding that he himself was calling from a wilderness navigation training.


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