Parapet Wall Transitions | Firefighter Ladder Training

Magic City Truck Academy, LLC instructor William Knight teaches firefighters how to climb aerial fire truck ladders while carrying tools, resulting in safer fire truck ladder operations, at the Mile High Firefighter’s Conference in Denver, CO.

In this firefighter training video, Magic City Truck Academy, LLC instructor William Knight teaches firefighters how to climb off the fire truck aerial ladder and on to a firefighter ground ladder while navigating over a parapet wall. Proper firefighter ladder training results in quicker and safer fire suppression.


Going over parapets presents some very unique challenges. If it’s a three-foot parapet, can I jump down that?

Ya. Can I jump back up it in a hurry when the roof is on fire? It’s less likely. And then some of those parapets aren’t three feet. It might be eight feet; it might be fifteen feet. So, we need to have some sort of ladder for that.

Fresno’s are awesome, they don’t separate into two pieces, if you have dual safety they do, and that’s even better. Because now you have a short ladder, you actually have two short ladders, or one longer ladder. So that’s great because you can go parapet transition and then you can go a second parapet transition without having to move your ladder. So, if you have to cross this wide span of a large building or strip mall and you have elevation changes where you might need to step down a little bit or step up a little bit. Ya, so having two ladders is a great idea and sometimes a Fresno is the best way to get two ladders up.

These are two different scenarios, one is I trust the parapet wall. One is I don’t trust the parapet wall. It’s that simple. If I don’t trust the parapet wall then I don’t want to put this here lean my weight on it and have it go poof right of the side with me or drop something on guys below. So, this is an option if you have a stick. Preferably, these hooks would actually be hooked right here on the next rung down. I don’t like them here because for those of you that did make this transition, how awkward is this right here right at the tippy top?

Right? You’re bent over pitched forward. As soon as you move that down a rung you get to stand up straight and make that transition down instead of out. And then look at how this ladder sags, you got to pay attention to that. I don’t have hooks on this. So if I make this transition, if I’m weighing down this ladder, and then I step off of the aerial and it raises up, could I potentially raise up past the tips and this thing drop while I am standing on it?

Yes. That’s why I like roof ladders for this connection right here. How about the angle that I am interacting with the wall. I’m not ninety degrees with the wall, right? I could have rotated here.

So I hit this wall at ninety degrees, it’s hard to tell because I don’t have rails here that stick up past the ladder. But if I had rails here and I have to make this transition over the rail and down to the parapet wall.

That’s a really tall transition. But as soon as I rotate just a little bit right here, it’s a much easier transition. It’s lower, and easier and less awkward off to the side just a little bit. You don’t have to do a lot but that makes that transition so much easier on to this parapet. So if you rotate like this, it can make it more difficult. Even if it can give you maximum reach sometimes you don’t need a full reach and you can move it to the side a little bit.

At this angle, I normally come down face first not butt first. So I’m going down looking down the ladder and if that’s not comfortable to you that’s fine turn around and come down butt first.