NFPA References

N.F.P.A. 1932 Chapter 5 - Use of Ground Ladders

Chapter 5 Use of Ground Ladders 

5.1 Requirements for All Ground Ladders. 

5.1.1* Fire department ground ladders shall be used for rescue, fire-fighting operations, and training and shall not be used for any other purpose. 

5.1.2* Multi-purpose ladders used by fire service personnel for fire-fighting operations, rescue, and training shall meet the requirements of ANSI A14.2, Laddrrs - Portable Metal - Safety Requirements, or ANSI A14.5 Ladders - Portable Reinforced Plastic - Safety Requirements, and have a duty rating of Type 1A or 1AA. The total weight on the ground ladder, including persons, their equipment, and any other weight, such as a charged fire hose, shall not exceed the duty rating as given in Table 


Table  Ground Ladder Duty Rating 


Maximum Load 




Folding ladders 



Multi-purpose ladders 136 300

Pompier ladders 



Single and roof ladders 



All extension ladders 



Combination ladders 


750 The loads in Table shall not be imposed on the ground ladder unless the ground ladder is set at the correct angle of inclination and secured as specified in Section 5.1. 

5.1.4 Inspections. Ground ladders shall be visually inspected in accordance with Section 6.1 after each use. If ground ladders are used other than as specified in this standard, they shall be removed from service, inspected, and service tested prior to further use. 

5.1.5Ground ladders shall not be tied together to provide longer units. 

5.1.6Ground ladder butts shall be set on a firm, level base before ground ladders are used. 

5.1.7Ground ladders shall not be placed on ice, snow, or slippery surfaces unless means to prevent slipping are employed. 

5.1.8 Angle of Inclination. To provide the optimum combination of load carrying and stability, ground ladders shall be set at the correct angle of inclination by positioning the base section a horizontal distance from the vertical wall equal to one-quarter the working length of the ground ladder.* An angle of inclination of between 70 and 76 degrees shall be permitted, with an angle of 75 degrees being optimum. 

5.1.9* Ground ladders shall be secured at the base, either by a fire fighter or by mechanical means, to prevent slippage.* Extreme caution shall be used when the angle of inclination is less than 70 degrees. At angles less than 70 degrees, mechanical means shall be used to prevent slippage. 

5.1.10 Any time a ladder is positioned or repositioned, a visual determination that the pawls are correctly latched shall be made before the ladder is climbed. 

5.1.11 Ground ladders shall be secured at the top, to prevent slippage, by the first person to climb the ladder. 

5.1.12 Raised ground ladders shall not be slid along cornices or roof edges. 

5.1.13 After the ground ladder is initially set or placed, it shall not be “rolled” beam-over-beam to reach a new position. 

5.1.14 Raised ground ladders shall not be repositioned from the top, nor shall they be repositioned while a person is on the ladder. 

5.1.15 Ground ladders that have been removed from their storage location on the apparatus shall not be exposed to non–fire related heat sources (such as from the apparatus exhaust pipe) of 100°C (212°F) or greater. 

5.2 Additional Requirements for Extension Ladders. 

5.2.1 Fly sections of extension ladders shall not be used as single ladders unless they have been designed and tested in accordance with NFPA 1931, Standard for Manufacturer's Design of Fire Department Ground Ladders, for single ladder use. 

5.2.2 Extension ladders shall be used in the fly-up, fly away from the building position unless otherwise specified by the manufacturer. 

5.2.3* Halyards on extension ladders shall be tied off to the base section or shall be otherwise secured before the ground ladder is climbed. 

5.2.4 Length adjustments shall not be made from the top of extension ladders. 

5.2.5 If an extension ladder is equipped with staypoles, the staypoles shall be placed to act as stabilizers and shall not be placed so as to become load-bearing members under no-load conditions (no one on the ladder). 

5.2.6* If an extension ladder is equipped with staypoles and both poles cannot be properly placed due to obstructions or terrain, then neither staypole shall be placed. 

5.3 Additional Requirements for Metal Ground Ladders. 

5.3.1 Extreme caution shall be used when work occurs around charged electrical circuits because metal ground ladders conduct electricity. 

5.3.2 All metal ground ladders shall be kept away from power lines or other potential electrical hazards. 

5.4* Additional Requirements for Wood Ground Ladders. 

Extreme caution shall be used around electrical hazards because wet wood ground ladders can conduct electricity. 

5.5* Additional Requirements for Fiberglass Ground Ladders. 

Extreme caution shall be used around electrical hazards because wet fiberglass ground ladders can conduct electricity. 

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