Leg Locked

At the age of 55 I decided to become a volunteer firefighter. I’m 56 now. So I’m taking training along with guys from all over the island who are young enough to be my sons–or grandsons, I suppose. A few weeks ago on a crisp Sunday morning I had to pass my practicum in ladders. How to: carry, set up and take down ladders of various sizes in one man, two man, three man teams; place & climb a roof ladder; carry a 105 lb. dummy down a ladder. And, demonstrate a leg lock:

Per the internets, the Vancouver fire department defines a leg lock thusly:

A leg lock is a way of hooking a leg onto the ladder so that a firefighter can work safely from the ladder with his/her hands free while eliminating the danger of falling.
If a leg lock is not used, a firefighter must have at least one hand free to hold on to the ladder beam. No exceptions.

To perform, say, a right leg lock, you:

  1. step your left leg up one rung higher than you want to be
  2. put your right foot through the opening
  3. bend your right leg back and through the opening below and
  4. hook your right foot around the right rail
  5. step down one rung with your left leg

and Bob’s your uncle.

From another fire department on the internets, we get this explanation of the ladder climb evaluation:

Ladder Climb
Purpose: to assess the applicant for fear of heights.
A 40 firefighting PFRS ladder will be erected in a safe and secure location. A department member will demonstrate a climb to a point half way up the ladder, do a leg lock and return to ground level.
Each applicant will be warned to stop if they experience difficulty when doing the exercise. Each applicant will then don a department turnout coat and SCBA (no face piece), climb the ladder to the same point as in the demonstration, do a leg lock and return to ground level.
The applicant will be rated “pass/fail”. PFRS evaluators will note any hesitation or difficulty of the applicant in performing the task.

Our test was a little different. We had to climb with an axe, do a leg lock, and pantomime using the axe to smash a window.

During my evaluation, I got into a scary situation.

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