First, let me say that I was impressed with the answers that I received regarding the photo in my last post. The responses that I received from firefighters were correct, and the ones that I received from non-fire service readers were well thought out and was based on observation. Well done!
The photo was of the "ground school" portion of a ladder bail class. As the ladder bail requires following a precise procedure to perform safely, students are required to demonstrate proficiency on the ground before being allowed to perform it above ground. Serious injuries have occurred during training on this evolution, showing a need for safety guidelines and training procedures for it.
The ladder bail (low profile above ground ladder escape) has been widely taught in one form or another since the late 80s. It is an evolution that requires very precise movements, as the consequences of an error are dire.
The objective is to rapidly egress an upper floor window, while keeping as low as possible in the window frame. It is not to be performed for fun, but should only be used when the flames are licking at your ass and you have no control of the situation. They call it a bail-out for a reason.
The images and captions below document a recent "train the trainer" session, covering the ladder bail procedure and the set-up for teaching the class. The "students" are peer instructors, who assist the training division in training crews on their shifts. As at least 12 multi-company drills covering this evolution will be performed, it is important that everyone is getting the same material. Hence this session.
Step 1: Find the window sill.
Step 2: Find the beams.
Step 3: Slide the beams.
Step 4: Hook rung #2 and make a fist.
Step 5: Slide beam with other hand and find 4th rung.
Step 6: Slide rung to the opposite beam.
Step 7: Feet together, kick your own ass and swing out.
Step 8: Find rails with your feet and slide down.
Obviously, there are other bits of important information that need to be instructed, but you get the idea. Another tool for firefighters to put in the box, just in case.
If you have never taken a safety/survival course teaching this evolution, I urge you to do so. Just make sure that the instructor is qualified to teach this, the consequences of failure are great.
Thanks for reading and have a happy Thanksgiving.