Extension ladders, Maintenance, Repair and Testing of Ladders

By | December 6, 2020

Extension Ladder:

Extension ladders are non-self-supporting ladder with adjustable length. You can adjust of extension ladders by your requirement. It’s not the walking under the ladder that brings you bad luck. It’s the wrong choice of ladder that brings misery crashing down on you. Choosing the right ladder for your project, you must consider four major factors. And if you’re not quite sure, you should get help from your friendly, knowledgeable home improvement retailer.


  • Method of carry: One or two man operation, high shoulder, low shoulder, suitcase.
  • Methods of raising: Flat raise, beam raise.
  • Spot ladder 3 feet away from building, raise extension if needed, adjust for proper climbing angle.
  • Climbing angle: RFD-1/5 height from the point of contact, plus 2 feet or 75 deg.
  • IFSTA 1/4 height from the point of contact, or 75 deg.
  • Placement.
  • Above the sill (RFD), directly under sill (IFSTA).
  • Rescue operation – tip slightly below window sill (60 deg. angle).
  • Breaking window – windward, adjacent to top of window opening.
  • Avoid placing ladder within 10 feet from power lines.
  • When working off ladder, you should lock in using opposite leg of side you are working of.
  • Passing – the person passes on the left, the person being passed locks in on right.
  • Roof ladder – used in conjunction with an extension ladder. Place butt of ladder at heel of extension ladder, open hooks away from user, walk roof ladder to vertical position resting ladder against extension ladder. Climb extension ladder and shoulder 14′ extension ladder one rung above balance point. Take the ladder to the roofs edge and place the ladder on the roof and slide the ladder up on the hooks, secure ladder to roof.


  • Ladder coming through!
  • Ladder coming around!
  • All clear!
  • Dogs unlocked fingers and toes!
  • Check for overhead obstructions.


  • NFPA 1932.
  • Keep free from moisture
  • Do not place ladder where it will be subject to extreme heat.
  • Only paint bottom and top 12″ for identification and visibility.
  • Clean after every use.
  • Use a soft bristle brush and running water.
  • Use a safety solvent for tar, oils and grease.
  • Wipe dry.
  • Look for defects.
  • Wax every 3 months with candle wax or paraffin wax.
  • Ladders are inspected daily, Saturday checks, monthly checks, after each use, after damage or repair, and every year.
  • Send repairs to station 11 A shift.

Daily Inspection of ladders:

  • Check Halyard rope for fraying.
  • Check for loose rungs.
  • Dents or heavy impacts.
  • Make sure ladder is secured to the unit.
  • Check the heat sensors.


  • H- Height.
  • E – Electrical Hazards.
  • A- Angle, asset # 344-24.
  • D- Dangers.
  • S- Sensors (Heat).

Heat Sensor Label:

  • 4 labels per ladder.
  • 2 below the 2 rung from the top on both sides.
  • 2 labels with instructions below the middle rung on both sides.
  • They indicate heat exposure greater than 300F.
  • Label will turn dark in color.
  • Ladder should be removed from service and load tested.

Ladders Testing:

Tested annually, station 11 A shift.

Horizontal Bending Test:

  • 24′ Extension, 14′ Roof.
  • Place ladders on 1″ supports 6″ from ends of ladder.
  • Apply 350 lbs. to centre of ladder for 1 minute, record distance to ground.
  • Apply 500 lbs. to centre of ladder for 5 minutes on 32″ piece of wood.
  • Ladder cannot flex more than 1/2″ Folding ladder.
  • Place ladders on 1″ supports 6″ from ends of ladder.
  • Apply 160 lbs. to centre of ladder for 1 minute, record distance to ground.
  • Apply 225 lbs. to centre of ladder for 5 minutes on 16″ piece of wood.
  • Ladder cannot flex more than 1/2″.

Roof Hook Test:

Hanging 2, 000 lbs. for 1 minute.

Hardware Test:

  • Cannot show more that 10% bend.
  • Extend fly at minimum 1 rung.
  • Hang 1000 on highest run of ladder for at least 1 minute.
  • Inspect hardware for damage



  • Lighter
  • Won’t shrink or swell which would affect load limits
  • Cost effective


  • Conducts electricity

Policy and Procedures:

  • NEPA 1931, Standard on Design of and Design Verification Tests for Fire Department Ground Ladders, contains the requirements for the design and manufacturer’s testing of ground ladders.
  • NFPA1932, Standard on Use, Maintenance, and Service Testing of Fire Department Ground Ladders, provides the requirements for both maintaining and service testing ground ladders.
  • NFPA 1901, Standard for Automotive Fire Apparatus, set the minimum lengths and types of ladders to be carried on all pumper or engine companies (one 10′ folding ladder, one 14′ roof ladder, and one 24′ or larger extension ladder).

Components of Ladders:

  • Bed Section.
  • Fly Section.
  • Spurs-for stabilization of the butt of the ladder.
  • Dogs or locks-locking the fly section in place
  • Rungs-made of corrugated aluminium with a min. dia. Of 1 % and spaced 14 inch. Apart.
  • Beam guides- to guide fly section, preventing the fly from being over extended.
  • Truss blocks-support rungs
  • Stops-on both bed and fly section, preventing the fly from being over extended.
  • Pulley-which is connected to the tip of the bed section. Is what the halyard is pulled through making it easy to hoist.
  • Halyard-a % inch dia, Nylon rope, used to extend the fly section.
  • Anchor-which is connected to bottom of the fly section to hold the halyard in place.
  • Heat sensor-is used to indicate when the ladder is exposed to heat greater than 300 degrees F.
  • Balance marker-1″ in width and painted red indicating the balance point.


The 24′ ext. ladder can be a one or two man operation. It can be carried a number of wave (high shoulder, low shoulder, arm’s length) . It can also be raised a couple of ways, (flat raise or beam raise) . After raised it needs to have the proper climbing angle, and that is determined by a formula. It is 1/5 of the point of contact plus 2 feet, this will give you a climbing angle of 75 degrees.

Placement of the ladder depends on its intended use. For rescue from a window place in the window one rung above the sill. For used of directing a hose threw the window, place directly in front with the tip above the top of the window. And for roof access at least 5 rungs above the roof line or as many as possible without changing the balance point. When working off the ladder, you should lock in using opposite leg that you are working off of. When passing on the ladder the man coming up locks in on the left and allows the man coming down to pass on the right side.


Visually Inspect Daily. A daily inspection should include checking the halyard for fraying, the rivets and rungs, and make sure the ladder is secure to the unit.

  • Inspect 1st of the month which includes:
  • Inspect for damage or wear.
  • Wash and dry the ladder.
  • Inspect all components.
  • Wax the ladder.

Clean the ladder with running water and a brush. Use a mild soap if needed and or solvents for grease. Always wipe dry. Every three months (Duo Safety recommends the use candle wax) to lubricate all moving parts. RFD has changed this to once a month. A ladder log should be filled out once a month according to duo safety.


For repairs fill out a 210-6 and contact the ladder coordinator.


An annual test conducted by an approved company by UL. The test consist of a 350- Ib. Weight test for one minute. 500 lbs. For 5 minutes. A safety factor of 4: 1 is buit into the ladder. The Max weight of the ladder is 2, 000 lbs. before failing. Weight limit should be limited to 500lbs., or One fire fighter per section. Hazards: Metal ladders are good conductors of electricity. Maintain a distance of 10′ from energized electrical sources.

NFPA 1901:

NFPA 1901 sets the minimum lengths and types of ladders to be carried on all pumper or engine companies. Each engine must carry the following:

One Straight ladder equipped with roof hooks.

One Extension Ladder.

One Attic Ladder.