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UPDATE: Detroit fire commissioner says banning firefighters from climbing aerial ladders will only minimally impact firefighters’ ability to extinguish fires.

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Above is the memo from Detroit Fire Chief Craig Dougherty we first showed you on Saturday that orders firefighters to stay off aerial ladders unless there is an immediate threat to life. The problem is that the Detroit Fire Department’s fleet of 19 ladder trucks does not meet NFPA’s standards on annual and five year testing. Yesterday, local news coverage caught up with the release of the memo.

Elisha Anderson, Detroit Free Press

“We don’t want any accidents,” he said. “We don’t want any fatalities.”

There are times when firefighters would be allowed to use the ladders, but Austin declined to discuss them with the Free Press.

A private vendor will be used to inspect the equipment, which could be complete in six weeks, he said.

“It’s not just our ladders,” ” McNamara said. “The real question should be, ‘What else is there that the fire department is obligated to inspect and certify and they haven’t?’”  

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Comments - Add Yours


    Anyone else getting the idea that:

    Ground ladder testing
    SCBA testing
    Pump testing
    Hose testing

    might be just a tad behind the curve, too?

  • FIREMAN 152

    trust me iam well versed in the DFD . they literally have no money to even buy halligan tools. there is no money to test equipment or even buy equipment. firemen walk around with ppe that is literally ducked taped together. what nobody realizes is that the city of detroit is a war zone far unlike any city in the country.

  • 305FireLT

    Well hell, why even have aerial pieces then if it is only a minimal handicap? Put only pumpers on the street. The Fire Commish should have told it like it is. “Sorry folks, we can’t afford it. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will be.”

  • MichiganFF

    While working at my FD, I always ask myself

    “I wonder if DFD does this…?”

    – as I’m hose testing thousands of feet yearly.
    – sending my gear out to be re-certified.
    – cleaning hose / tools / etc. after a fire.

    then again, I have no where near the call volume a DFD crew has.
    I’m glad I work where we at least have the money to maintain equipment.

  • Fire21

    We all endure problems within our departments, and people say, “Wow, you’re so dedicated to keep doing what you do.” It ain’t nothing compared to DFD. My congratulations AND condolences to all of you on the Detroit Fire Department.

  • retired firefighter

    I am sure the city will be able to come up with money to defend the lawsuits that will happen when needless deaths or injuries occur due to the lack of maintenance, testing, etc. Unfortunately, the very people they re suppose to protect and serve will be the victims. Wonder where OSHA is hiding on this issue?

    The city should admit they can’t handle things. The truth hurts sometimes but folks can accept just about anything as long as they are told the truth (and facts.)