4 questions to ask before buying a used ladder truck
Not all ladder trucks are created equal. That means picking the right one for your fire department isn’t as simple as “what goes up must come down”. Specs, seating capacity, whether or not you need a pump… Figuring exactly what kind of ladder truck your department needs before you buy is really important.
So, where do you begin? It’s all about knowing the questions to ask yourself before exploring the used fire trucks on the market. Spend a little time thinking through these four questions before assessing used ladder trucks for sale, and you’ll be sure to choose one that’s truly fit for purpose:
How long should our ladder be?
Consider the towns and cities that your fire department serves – and the risks the buildings pose. What’s your high rise to low rise ratio? How high might you have to reach? Don’t just factor in the shape and scope of your district today. If your area is developing quickly, think about the types of buildings going up, or planned. Investing in a previously owned fire truck is a big deal. Be sure to consider the length you’re likely to need over the life of the ladder truck, not just right now.
How far out will our ladder truck need to reach?
Height is important, but it’s not the only measurement that matters. Assessing the set backs in your district before you settle on a used fire truck will ensure your ladder reaches far enough up and far enough out to navigate your local risks. How far back from the road are the homes and buildings in your area? What are the by-laws around set backs, and are they changing any time soon? Make sure you have all the facts before you decide which ladder truck works best for you.
Do we need a platform, or just the ladder on its own?
There are pros and cons to ladder towers (i.e., ladder trucks with a basket attached). On the upside, they offer you the chance to have a bigger crew working atop your ladder truck. On the flipside, trucks operating with a basket take longer to deploy than a straight-up ladder truck. Also this: ladder trucks with baskets stand higher off the ground. That means you’ve got to consider whether a basket will stop your ladder truck from clearing certain bridges, tunnels or buildings in your district. Be sure to factor in all those elements before you start assessing previously owned fire trucks for sale or you might end up with a ladder truck that’s not as practical to operate as it first seemed.
Does our ladder need a pump and tank?
Many used ladder trucks will have a pump and tank. Figuring out if that’s a priority for you is a major part of choosing the right ladder truck. What does the rest of your fleet look like; will the ladder truck typically be one of the first vehicles to arrive at a scene? If so, that ups the need for water – fast. Will you use the ladder truck to block traffic at accident sites? Pulling a hose line for safety could come in handy there. Having a pump and tank on a ladder truck can also help your fire department meet minimum water flow requirements for ISO standards. If that’s important, you might want to tweak your ladder truck search accordingly.