While the average person uses a ladder a handful of times each year, there are many people for whom ladders are a daily part of their lives and work; firefighters are highly trained in ladder deployment and climbing skills and even have the ability to carry people up and down in very challenging conditions.
One fire department in Boston, Massachusetts, tested all their skills recently when their aerial ladder collapsed during a call out. The top section of the ladder gave way, leading to buckling further down the ladder. Luckily, there was only one firefighter on the ladder at the time and he was in the bucket, which was positioned over the top of the roof at the time. He was able to climb out and on to the roof of the burning building, where he could be rescued with another ladder.
A crane had to remove the ladder from its crashed position, but it could have been a very different story if the bucket had not been positioned where it was, as the bucket could have crashed all the way down to the ground. The ladder truck they were using was a reserve one, but they are all maintained and inspected to the same standards as the premier fleet and there is no indication of why the ladder collapsed.
Firefighters in Texas were called to an emergency where a man had fallen from a ladder while trimming overhanging branches at his home in Spring, TX. In the US firefighters are typically trained in emergency first aid and as such are often called to the scene of accidents that would be attended to by a paramedic in the UK. When they arrived on the scene the man was treated and taken to hospital for further treatment, so the firefighters stayed put and finished the tree trimming job for him, meaning he had one less thing to worry about and could focus on his recovery.
Fire trucks are equipped with all sorts of tools for rescue operations, including saws and ropes to move fallen trees from the road or from the scene of accidents, so the tree surgery job was taken well in their stride. Similar stories emerge around Christmas, where firefighters are called out to attend to homeowners who have fallen while hanging their decorations and the crew finishes the job for them. In a world where our faith in humanity is tested on a daily basis it is nice to see that there are still decent, kind-hearted people out there going above and beyond to help those in need.