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West Yorkshire Aerials
Fire Engine Photos
No: 22276   Contributor: Norman Price   Year: 2010   Manufacturer: Volvo   Country: United Kingdom
West Yorkshire Aerials

T925AUA on the left from Halifax takes over from YE52HJF from Wakefield at an incident in Dewsbury, 17 February 2010.
Picture added on 18 February 2010 at 09:18
add commentComments:
Great on-scene photo; shows two different designs of rear-mount aerial platform, with the basket(bucket) on a 'knuckle'(short end-boom).

The left-hand rig appears to be an articulating boom "Magirus Simon"; and the right-hand rig is apparently a telescoping boom.

Has anyone more details; and which design works out better for West Yorks fire coverage area ?

Regards, from Canada,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 18 February 2010.
Pat, we would call the appliance on the left a Hydraulic Platform (HP)- a good fire-fighting/rescue platform widely used by Brit fire brigades for the past 50 years or so. The only real downside to one of these is its general lack of manoeuvrability: the two 'knuckles' tend to limit the booms' operational movement. And secondly, the booms themselves tend to be long and overhang the front and the rear of the chassis, giving the vehicle itself problems manouevring - particularly when surrounded by street lamps and telegraph poles.

The appliance on the right is a relative newcomer to the UK fire scene, and what we call an ALP: an Aerial Ladder Platform. It combines an HP with the regular Turntable Ladder. Most ALPs are Brontos, a Finnish company, and are made by Angloco.

Its two main advantages over the HP are its increased manouvrability. The booms can even operate below ground level to perform a water or bridge rescue, for instance.

Plus, its compactness makes the vehicle easy to manouvre and to set-up; and the telescopic arrangement of the booms mean it can carry booms that far excede the maximum operational height of those of an HP or TL. Most UK HPs are SS263 - 26.3 metres or 86 feet. The largest in the UK are 30 metres, or 98 feet. UK TLs too have a maximum working height of 30m/98 feet. Bronto Skylift can build you an appliance with a maximum height of 104 metres, that's a truly terrifying 341 feet!!! But in the UK, the highest our ALPs reach is a far more sensible 32 metres, that's 104 feet. I'm pretty sure they're the largest we have.

Very few UK brigades still operate all three types of aerials (London Fire Brigade quickly springs to mind). Lots of brigades still operate at least two types though, usually HP and ALP as TLs seem to be fading in popularity and very few brigades are buying them these days.

The main reason why HPs are still very much a fixture among UK brigades is their reliability - the booms seem to last for ever! Most brigades will re-chassis the booms because it is a lot cheaper than buying a brand-new complete unit. I think today there are some HPs in active service that are riding on top of their third chassis.

So personally I don't think brigades buy aerial appliances to suit the particular needs of a certain part of the county. I think each brigade will make the aerial work for them, irrespective of what type it is. As is always the case in Britain, Pat, it comes down to money . . .

(P.S. And we call 'em cages!)

Added by Yelp Bullhorn on 19 February 2010.
Yelp B. - thanks for the great explanation above -and you have answered a whole bunch of questions that I have not yet dreamed up !

And, yes; finances, to a greater or lesser degree, affects every Fire Service's choices of equipment, whether we like it or not......

All the best, from the snowy back-woods,

Added by Pat Rivers-Bowerman on 19 February 2010.
GMC apparently got rid of their ALPs for HPs because the hassle was not worth the extra cost. The availability of ALPs does seem rather low.

Added by Neal Glover on 20 February 2010.
Lothian and Borders FRS operate 1 HP with rechassised booms, and 3 TL`s, 1 of which they bought new as an S reg and the current 2 others are of 1987 and 1989 vintage, - both bought second hand and regularly used operationally. They have had previoussecond hand TL`s of 1984 and 1986 vintage that both served them well until replaced. L&B bough a brand new M reg Simon ALP that was frequently off the run and was involved in a roll over accident whilst en route to a call and eventually it was replaced by a second hand TL. Given the age, and cheap cost of the TL`s L&B have bought, as well as their reliability I can`t see them ever going down the ALP road again.

Added by D.cruickshank on 16 December 2012.
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