How Tall Are Fire Truck Ladders

Fire truck ladders are critical for helping firefighters fight fires and rescue people from high places. This article will explore the different aspects of fire truck ladders, including their height, cost, weight, and capacity.


The Height of Fire Truck Ladders 

The height of a fire truck ladder is an essential feature for firefighting. Fire truck ladders can reach up to 100 feet, enabling firefighters to access high places to extinguish flames and rescue people from upper floors. Additionally, fire truck ladders are equipped with water hoses, allowing firefighters to spray water on a fire from above. Fire trucks also have other firefighting equipment, including hoses, pumps, and ladders.

The Tallest Fire Department Ladder Truck 

The E-ONE CR 137 is the tallest ladder truck in North America, with a telescopic ladder that can reach up to 137 feet. Its horizontal reach of 126 feet makes it an excellent choice for accessing difficult-to-reach places. Made from aluminum and clad in a red powder coating, the E-ONE CR 137 is durable and visible. It also features non-slip steps and a safety guardrail for safe operation.

The Cost of Ladder Fire Trucks 

The cost of a ladder truck is an important consideration when purchasing firefighting equipment. Ladder trucks in the $550,000 to $650,000 price range are typically the most cost-effective option. Although the final decision should depend on specific needs and budgets, investing in a ladder truck can save money in the long run. The average life of a fire engine is ten years, whereas a ladder truck is 15 years.

Ground Ladders for Firefighters 

Ground ladders are essential for firefighters, as they provide safe and effective access to burning buildings. The National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Standard for Manufacturer’s Design of Fire Department Ground Ladders (NFPA 1931) requires all fire trucks to have a straight single-roof ladder and an extension ladder. These ladders are constructed from sturdy materials and can support the weight of multiple firefighters with proper care and maintenance.

Weight Capacity Considerations

When it comes to ladder safety, weight capacity is a critical consideration. Most ladders have a maximum capacity of 2,000 pounds. Still, setting the weight restriction at 500 pounds or less is generally recommended. When multiple firefighters use the ladder, each section can only safely support one person. Furthermore, it is crucial to be mindful of electrical hazards when using a metal ladder, as they are excellent conductors of electricity. Always ensure the area around the ladder is free from any potential electrical hazards before climbing.

Aluminum Ladders vs. Wooden Ladders

Firefighters have a wide variety of equipment, and the ladder is one of the most critical tools. In the past, wooden ladders were the norm, but aluminum ladders have become more popular. Aluminum ladders are less expensive, require less upkeep, and are more weather-resistant. Additionally, some firefighters feel that metal models are lighter and more straightforward. While each ladder type has benefits and drawbacks, the overall trend is clear: aluminum ladders are preferred for most fire departments.

Fire Truck Ladder Capacity and Performance

The Pierce 105′ heavy-duty steel aerial ladder is a reliable and durable choice for firefighters. It has a certified load capability of up to 750 pounds in winds up to 50 mph, making it capable of handling the demands of even the most challenging rescue operations. With a flow rate of 1,000 gallons per minute, the Pierce 105′ can provide adequate water for extinguishing even the largest fires. Additionally, the 100-pound additional firefighting equipment allowed at the ladder tip ensures that firefighters have the necessary tools to do the job.

Fire Truck Ladder Types and Sizes

Fire trucks come in various sizes and shapes depending on their intended use. The most common type of fire truck in the United States is the pumper, which pumps water to extinguish fires. Tanker trucks are also used to transport water to areas without access to a hydrant. Aerial ladder trucks have a ladder that can be extended to reach taller buildings and is typically used in urban areas with many tall buildings. Brush trucks are designed for use in rural areas with lots of vegetation.

How Fire Truck Ladders Extend

The truck’s ladder is controlled by a hydraulic piston rod. When hydraulic fluid enters the piston rod through one of two hoses, the pressure in the system causes the rod to extend or retract, allowing the operator to raise or lower the ladder. The hydraulics system is designed to ensure that the ladder will rise when the piston extends and lower when it retracts, enabling it to be securely positioned at any height. When not in use, the ladder is typically stored horizontally against the side of the truck. The operator brings the ladder to a vertical position to deploy it and then extends or retracts the piston rod to raise or lower the ladder into position.


Choosing the right fire truck ladder is crucial for any fire department. From weight capacity and ladder type to size and performance, selecting the proper ladder can make all the difference in emergencies. By researching the different options on the market and considering specific departmental needs, firefighters can choose the ideal ladder for their department.

About the author, Laurence Perkins

Laurence Perkins is the passionate car enthusiast behind the blog My Auto Machine. With over a decade of experience in the automotive industry, Perkins has knowledge and experience with a wide range of car makes and models. His particular interests lie in performance and modification, and his blog covers these topics in-depth. In addition to his own blog, Perkins is a respected voice in the automotive community and writes for various automotive publications. His insights and opinions on cars are highly sought-after.