Aerial support unit - geograph.org.uk - 155857



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A telescopic platform

Description telescopic aerial platform unit Helsinki H16
Date June 2006, text slightly re-edited in April 2007
Source picture by Pöllö
Author Picture and text: Pöllö, please notices some sources referred in parts of the text
(Reusing this file)

own work

This aerial platform has a working height of 53 meters (approx. 178 feet) when the telescopic boom totally extended. Scalable ladders are fixed to the extendable hydraulic boom. The unit number H16 means: H = town (Helsinki), 1 = station number (first - or central - station), 6 = type of the unit (6 = aerial/ladder/telescopic platform unit).

The maximum range for the platform is approx. 24 meters (approx. 79 feet). Maximum allowable load is 400 kgs (approx. 882 pounds), and water capacity 3900 l/min (approx. 1030 US gallons/min). The total weight of platform units with Bronto Skylift F53 RL boom is typically approx. 32 metric tons [1].

In this picture the telescopic part (the lower, thicker part) of the boom is not extended. However, the platform easily reaches the sixth floor of the training tower at the 1st Helsinki rescue station. The lower boom has five parts built telescopically one inside another. Each of the four parts now resting not-extended inside the lower boom will rise the platform by a height of approx. three floors. H16 is therefore able to reach floors around 18 - 22, depending on the floor height in the building. However, in high building there are typically higher standards for fire safety including several staircases, proper dividing of building, floors and apartments to smaller, fire-proof departments, smoke detectors, possibly smoke ventilating systems, sprinklers, built-in fire hydrants etc. Basically all apartments have to be planned with at least two ways out - another can be a window whenever the fire department is able to rescue humans via windows. Professional Finnish firefighters are trained to aggressive smokediving rescue and fire extinguishing missions. Basically it is possible to rescue people from the roofs or upper floors by descending with ropes, but this kind of missions are slower, more risky and very rare.

This aerial typically operates with other units, which are very used to operate with the aerial platform unit. Therefore it has technically a crew of only one firefighter - the driver. The unit has digital map and routing system helping the driver to reach the targets rapidly and safely. The driver drives the unit to the scene, where other firefighters from other units can use it in various kind of operations.

Telescopic platforms are used in various kinds of fire-fighting, evacuation, rescue, and clearing operations. The platform is able to reach also levels several meters below the ground level. Due to this feature, and the lifting capacity, the unit is sometimes used also as a support unit in rescue operations below the ground level. It can be used even as a support unit for the rescue divers and a rescue divers' unit, because this aerial offers rapidly a platform over water - with a capability to light an area of water.

This kind of aerials are typically equipped with i.a. control unit, lighting equipment, a fixed water way, power outlets and compressed air outlets on the platform. Due to a control unit on the platform, it is easy, rapid and safe to steer the platform e.g. when located over the roof. It is possible to rise the platform above the roof, and bend it several meters over and behive the eave, since the last part of the boom is connected with a joint to the extendable boom. Therefore the platform goes "up-and-over". It is an excellent base to operate over roofs even it is not possible to walk and operate on the roofs anymore. For example, fire fighters on the platform can safely use various kind of hydraulic, electric or motorized tools to open holes to higher parts of roofs over e.g. burning garrets. Hot, flammable gases erupt safely from the hole. Temperature in the garret decreases, visibility increases, and aggressive fire extinguishing attacks can be done from inside (or/and outside) the building.

The aerials typically carry a rescue cushion. Naturally the unit has various smoke-diving equipment, because the platform often operates in the middle of smoke. Hoses and connectors are carried to connect the aerial unit to an engine, a fire hydrant, or a water tender. More hoses and nozzles can be carried to give a unit possibilities to operate more independently, however, the unit is typically supported by other units like engines - or actually the unit supports the engines. Foam liquids and other foaming equipment (nozzles, inductors etc.) are used in fires on e.g. roofs, in garrets - or in oil or chemical tanks.

Earthing equipment is needed when operating near electric tram routes or railways, or other electric wires. Various tools, like special chainsaws, ropes, wires, cutters etc. can be used when clearing storm damages, for example trees fallen over electric wires, houses etc. The unit may also carry winches, strike-through fog nozzles, and some rescue and clearing equipment. The aerial may contain a water pump to provide water with adequate pressure to e.g. water cannon on a platform in heights. Some aerials have an special hydraulic chainsaw with an "arm" of several meters. This gives a possibility to clear e.g. branches of trees more safely, especially in the vicinity of electric wires, if the armsaw is a well-insulated one.

Sometimes a patient on stretcher hangs on ropes attached to platform above the stretcher - this way an injured person can be rapidly lifted from lower (and sometimes narrower) places than the platform itself can achieve. For example, when a person has dropped to a cleft, fire fighters from a heavy rescue unit descend very rapidly by climbing ropes to the patient. The fire fighters carry BLS or ALS equipment with them. A stretcher can be connected to the platform, stretcher hanging several meters below the platform. An emergency physician is carried with the stretcher (with a vacuum matress etc.) to the abyss. Naturally at least one fire fighter additionally steers the stretcher with a rope to prevent rotation of the stretcher. The patient can be transferred to the stretcher, which is lifted under the platform - with an emergency physician monitoring the patient during the lift. A stretcher can be transported over the platform. When patient is carried on the platform, he/she may get medical treatment during the shift, since one fire fighter can control the platform, and another can safely treat the patient.

The unit H16 in the picture is one of the five operational aerial platform units of the Helsinki Fire Department. In 2005, this moderately heavy platform unit has run approximately 1000 fire and rescue tasks in Helsinki[2]. In addition to the European motor vehicle and machinery legislation, there are also general European standards regulating the building of ladder units[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12].


PD-icon.svg This work has been released into the public domain by its author, Pöllö at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide.

In case this is not legally possible:
Pöllö grants anyone the right to use this work for any purpose, without any conditions, unless such conditions are required by law.


  1. ? Bronto Skylift Technische Daten (Brochure in German), http://www.bronto.fi/brochures/deutsch/F-RL_DE.pdf, retrieved on 29 April 2007.
  2. ? Helsingin pelastuslaitos (Helsinki Rescue Department): Toimintakertomus 2005 (Annual Report 2005, in Finnish; Briefly in English on p. 25). http://www.hel.fi/pel, retrieved on the April 28th, 2007.
  3. ? EN 1028-1 Firefighting pumps - Part 1: Requirements of fire fighting centrifugal pumps with primer
  4. ? EN 1028-2 Firefighting pumps - Part 2: Testing of fire fighting centrifugal pumps with primer
  5. ? EN 1947 Semi-rigid reel hoses for firefighting pumps and vehicles
  6. ? EN 1777 Hydraulic platforms (HPs) for fire services - Safety requirements and testing
  7. ? CEN/TC 192 N 232 Automatic turntable ladders for fire service use - Requirements, test methods
  8. ? CEN/TC 192 N 233 Semi-automatic turntable ladders for fire service use - Requirements, test methods
  9. ? ISO 10085 Firefeigting vehicles and equipment - Symbols for operator controls and other displays
  10. ? EN 1846-1 Firefighting and rescue service vehicles - Part 1: Nomenclature and designation
  11. ? EN 1846-2 Firefighting and rescue vehicles - Part 2: Common requirements - Safety and performance
  12. ? EN 1846-3 Firefighting and rescue vehicles - Part 3: Permanently installed equipment - Safetyand performance requirements

Original file history

Originally uploaded to English Wikipedia by User:Pöllö with a {{PD}} license.

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