Throwing Ladders | Structure Fire Firefighter Training

Captain Rick Spear of Estes Vally Fire Protection provides ladder throwing tips to help firefighters raise ladders more efficiently.

This structure fire training video provides ladder throwing tips to help firefighters eliminate steps and raise ladders more efficiently.


I know you all know how to throw ladders. My hope today is maybe we can eliminate steps, and build some efficiency. Firm and level ground, overhead obstructions, all that stuff’s assumed.

Low shoulder carry, that chicken wing comes like this. It works out well for some of our members on our staff. Well, most of us, right? In Estes Park, and, uh, shorter, they’re gonna use that building to help them out to raise the ladder, um, without setting the ladder down, walking back. So hand down on the rung, and right hand on the lower beam. If you’re left handed, opposite of course. The chicken wing piece is this. Right? And it gives us a little leverage to throw that top ladder up. Right?

Quick smooth action.

I kind of mix my high shoulder and alley throw. I’ll show you the difference. This high shoulder one’s again, gonna kind of somewhat rely on the building, right? So we’re gonna bring it in here. And just pop it off our shoulders. Like that. That’s all great. My preference for myself is as I’m walking into a building. I’m using the balance of the ladder. It’s already starting to raise, right? It just doesn’t make me require to use the visual. Right?

And just brings me at, with my right hand on the beam already.

‘A quarter of the length of the ladder is where you want to be from the building for proper climbing angle.’

Instructor Tip

I don’t particularly like to carry it on my shoulder. One, hurts my shoulder. But two, I like the extra leverage. What I like about doing an alley race, so to speak, what I just did here. Cause I can already put it the four feet away from the building. Right? Cause its a 14 foot ladder. Right? How far away from the building do you want to be? About a quarter of the length of the ladder, right?

So if the 20 foot is extended, about six feet. That’s going to give us our proper climbing angle. Again, assuming level ground.

You want to avoid exaggerated ladders. They have their place. If you gotta do. You gotta do it, but for safety, right? We want our weight going down, not out.