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16013 – Ladders and hose use guidelines

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A request for information concerning health and safety guidelines for use of ladders and hoses

Ref: FOI/16013


I am writing to confirm that the West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information you requested on 26th January 2015

Please find below a summary of our findings.


Under what circumstances, if any, would an operational firefighter be permitted to carry charged 45mm hose up a ladder, with or without the branch open and with or without a safety restraint?


Under no circumstances would any Firefighter be asked to or be required to carry a charged length of hose whilst ascending or descending a ladder. This is not taught by West Midlands Fire Service as both hands and feed are needed to climb a ladder in a safe manner, as well as the danger of the branch opening, resulting in the ensuing force causing a fall.


Alternatively, as per the Fire and Rescue Service manual, volume 4, do you always comply with standard practice H2 (how to get a branch to work aloft using a line) and PL2 (how to get a line of hose aloft via a ladder) drills?


Our training session plans are taken from the Fire Service Manual and we add a risk assessment to each element, we do not step outside of this when training.


If your answer to the first question is charged 45mm hose should never be carried up a ladder, then may I ask for a brief comment from your organisation regarding the health and safety aspect and how dangerous/reckless such an act may be to any of your operational firefighters. Furthermore, how much more reckless would it be to have the branch open whilst carrying the charged hose up a ladder, like say from the base of one of your fire towers to the top?


The dangers we envisage from carrying a charged length of hose up a ladder are that it is an uncontrolled load and has the potential to create a force which may result in a fall. It would not be possible to climb a ladder in the correct manner as taught by West Midlands Fire Service. These would be deemed as safety critical issues. We can only envisage the dangers as this as the scenario you describe is not a system of work that we teach.

The attached detail West Midlands Fire Services Training notes and risk assessments. Health and safety guidelines

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications. If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision please write to The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW