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Bakersfield FIRE Department
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2101 H Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301


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Operations Division - BFD 100' Tillered Ladder Truck

Ladder Truck

Ladder truck specifications were developed by the Bakersfield Fire Department to accommodate local standards. Our last two truck purchases resulted in acquiring trucks based on other city's specifications. These specifications did not meet local needs. Basic specifications include a 100 foot aerial for ease of maneuverability in older downtown areas and clearance to fit into any existing and future stations. The apparatus should be powerful enough to climb foothills and carry a considerable amount of equipment. Listed below are some of the factors influencing the specifications.

Basic Design: Tiller Truck
A tiller truck satisfied all basic specifications. Previous experience with a 1971 American LaFrance tiller truck made this part of the decision easy. After writing the basic specification, several key issues were identified and stressed as the most important factors in our decision. These factors are listed below.

Factors Visibility
A major emphasis was placed on how well the tillerman could see the area around both the tractor and the trailer. Several measurements were taken from key positions to insure a field of vision in certain areas. Very little attention seems to be given to this aspect of most designs, yet it was of primary importance to us.

The successful bidder must have built at least three tiller trucks within the last three years. Several manufacturers are using a readily available trailer complete with an aerial device. This aerial device can be pulled behind any cab and chassis equipped with a fifth wheel. We preferred a truck designed and built as one unit by a reputable company with experience.

End Product Questionnaire
Engine installation approval by the engine manufacturer was extremely important. The approval would confirm the departments power requirements for climbing foothill roads. This approval must be for the finished apparatus, not just the cab and chassis. This will assure the warranty will be honored if problems are encountered after delivery.

Pre - Plumbed Waterway
At least a 1000 g.p.m. water flow was needed for master stream applications with the ladder placed in any reasonable position. These features would also guarantee safety. A clamp-on monitor with a hoseline stretched up the ladder not only restricts the amount of water that can be applied to the fire, but also creates a safety hazard. The pre-plumbed waterway, with a remotely controlled nozzle, can be operated without a firefighter on the ladder.


Even the most advanced systems can be designed for simple operation. This assures rapid ladder operations with less chances for errors. This factor was stressed in all areas including a PTO driven hydraulic generator. All controls had to be clearly labeled and arranged logically for smooth operation.

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