Inspections at TFD

The Tallahassee Fire Department is making sure firefighters can step up when duty calls. This week a company is in town conducting stress tests; not on the firefighters, but on the department's ladders. Testers say most devices have a one in 10 chance of failing.

Many of us think of protective gear and hoses when it comes to fighting fires, but another life saving tool is the ladder, and that's why a company is in town this week to do annual safety inspections.

Every year both ground and aerial ladders are put to the test. Firefighters say detecting a malfunctioning ladder on their own is tougher than you may think, impossible unless it’s an obvious crack. In fact, a stress test on an aerial ladder takes five to six hours.

Heat is usually a ladder's biggest threat. Stiffler says 10 percent of aerial ladders are taken out of service for safety reasons, but firefighters say they'd rather know now than when they're in the heat of things.

Company representatives says they find few problems with Tallahassee's ladders due to proper maintenance year-round.