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Truck or Ladder Company, as defined by the National Fire Protection Association:

“A ladder truck company with special reference to the large assortment of special emergency tools carried and the crew of firefighters skilled in their use. Truck companies should be assigned to every fire regardless of whether long ladders are needed because these companies perform forcible entry, rescue, ventilation, salvage work, and other duties greatly increasing the efficiency of the engine companies and of the fire service. A truck company should respond with a pumper company to provide an effective fire fighting team. Adequate staffing of truck companies is one of the most important features of a good fire department.”

Truck company operations, sometimes called ladder company operations, are a critical component to the act of suppressing a fire. Truck company functions are essential to effective fireground operations and it is imperative they be carried out, whether or not you have a dedicated aerial type apparatus. There is a wide spectrum of duties which must be achieved with the most critical being, search and rescue, ventilation, forcible entry, and laddering. Other aspects of truck work which may not be so glamorous, but is expected, would include controlling the utilities, salvage and overhaul.

When a jurisdiction has buildings of such height that they cannot be reached by ground ladders it should be mandatory that some type of aerial device is available whether it is a ladder or elevated platform. Every firefighter should be trained to fulfill the duties required of a truck company. It is especially important when the department has a dedicated ladder truck or platform that is to be staffed and operated at fires. The ability to cross-staff an engine and a truck makes for a highly efficient firefighting force.