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100-foot aerial ladder truck

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Costa Mesa’s Tiller Aerial Truck

Tiller Truck #3

The primary tasks of a truck company are broken down into three categories:

  • Access
  • Property preservation
  • Technical rescue

The ladder truck's functions/operations include forcible entry, auto extrication, search and rescue, ventilation, salvage and overhaul, lighting, vehicle stabilization, low-angle rescue, high-angle rescue. Unlike the engine company, which has limited compartment space, the truck company is designed to have a large number of compartments so it can carry the vast assortment of specialized tools and equipment that are needed to perform the many different types of operations that are encounter in the city on a regular basis.

Aside from having a 100-foot aerial ladder for above ground operations, the truck company carries a compliment of ground ladders to give firefighters access to initiate firefighting and/or rescue operations. The truck also carries power tools, rope rescue equipment, forcible entry tools, salvage and overhaul equipment, lighting equipment and accessories, and technical rescue equipment for auto extrication operations.


  • Fire suppression operations 
  • Victim access (traffic collisions, above/below ground level rescues)

The truck company provides access so fire suppression or rescue efforts can be accomplished. On building fires, these operations include forcible entry so engine company members can gain access into buildings so fire extinguishing efforts can occur while rescue is performed. The truck company members utilize hand and/or power tools to accomplish these duties.

The truck company also carries a complement of ladders. The complement on Costa Mesa’s truck includes two 35-foot extension ladders, two 28-foot extension ladders, one 14-foot straight ladder, one 16-foot straight ladder and the 100’ aerial ladder that rests on top of the truck. These ladders assist crew members in gaining access in order to carry out rescue and fire suppression operations.

Victim rescues from traffic collisions present another access problem for firefighters to render care to patients. The truck company carries the jaws of life. This tool, along with the cutters and spreaders can rip apart an automobile in just a few minutes. These tools enable paramedics to gain access to patients so treatment can begin.

Property preservation

  • Ventilation
  • Salvage operations
  • Overhaul operations

Ventilation is a systematic way of removing smoke, heat, and fire gases from a building involved with fire to limit property damage during fire suppression operations.

Salvage work takes place simultaneously during fire suppression efforts as well. Salvage work, as it is referred to, entails placing large covers over personal belongings/furniture in order to protect these items. The truck company personnel perform this operation to limit damage from smoke, heat, or other related elements of fire by-products.

Salvage work also limits the damage that is incurred from the uncontrolled presence of water from activated sprinklers, leaking water pipes, or other water run-off from fire suppression activities. After the fire has been knockdown, the truck company personnel conduct overhaul operations by sifting through the ashes and debris to ensure that re-ignition of the building will not occur.

Technical rescue

Technical rescue incidents include:

  • Vehicle accidents (auto extrications)
  • Swift Water Rescue (Santa Ana river bed, flood control channels)
  • High Angle rescues (rappelling)
  • Low Angle rescues (freeway embankments, Talbert/Fairview parks)
  • Confined space/subterranean incidents
  • Patient entrapments

Examples of technical rescue incidents can include the following: vehicle accidents, remote rescues in parks and wooded areas, or a stranded window washer on any high rise building. The equipment that is required for these types of calls is carried on the aerial ladder truck.