The importance of aerial versatility4 November, 2021
The overall versatility of an aerial is key in enabling smooth operations in as many complex situations as possible. We sat down with Bill Kirk, National Sales Manager for Bronto Skylift North America, to talk about the versatility of articulated aerial platforms and how it brings value to rescue and firefighting missions.
Reaching up and above – and below
Reach is typically the first issue we discuss with our customers when they are selecting a new Bronto aerial platform. But “reach” doesn’t just mean reaching greater heights than other aerials in North America — it also refers to the ability to get up and over obstacles and parapet walls, and to reach downwards below grade. Up & over and below-grade operation is enabled by articulation, and this also allows personnel to enter directly from ground level.
In one case, a man had a heart attack on the roof of a retail store. The operators were able to navigate the cage up and over the parapet wall, enabling them to approach and rescue the patient quickly and safely. Without the unique capabilities of the Bronto, the time it may have taken to move him could have been life threatening. In critical rescue situations, the Bronto’s large rescue cage offers space for extra tools, personnel, or wheelchair access.
In another case, a young man had lost control of his car and ended up in a below-grade retention pond. The firemen were able to use the Bronto’s below-grade capabilities to save him in time.
Freedom to move around objects
Versatility stretches beyond height and access. The manoeuvrability of the booms and cage give Brontos unmatched mobility in operations, for applications from navigating safely through power lines and the tallest spires of historic buildings to the careening loops of major amusement parks. In addition to emergency situations, theme parks even use Bronto aerials to maintain and repair their gondola systems and roller coasters.
All critical information is available on the display including an outreach diagram and real-time position of the rescue cage, load capacity and main boom angle. Envelop control displays maximum possible outreach to all directions based on jack placement and basket load.
Working on narrow city streets
We constantly develop our products and their capabilities in urban operations, including reducing transport length, decreasing outrigger footprint, and reaching higher. A shorter transport length and minimal front overhang helps aerials navigate through tight turns and traffic, while a small outrigger footprint and variable jacking – enabling only one outrigger to be extended when necessary – increase accessibility in narrow streets.
A large cage size increases the rescue capability of the aerial, because it means the cage can be accessed by a wheelchair and equipped with a stretcher carrier. The cage is large enough to allow paramedics to attend to the patient on the stretcher while the operator lowers them safely to the ground. The maximum cage load is 450kg, which also allows multiple people to be rescued at the same time.
More versatility with optional add-ons
When searching for a versatile aerial platform, it’s important to look for systems that are scalable and easy to use. In addition to being engineered for operator ease of use, Brontos offer several add-ons that augment the versatility and safety of the aerial. This allows the aerial to grow alongside your fire crew.
Although deploying personnel on foot can generally be avoided due to the mobility of the aerial, it can be necessary. To reduce personnel risk, Brontos can be equipped with a thermal imaging camera system that reveals temperature hotspots in real time, for example, when cutting into a roof to gain building access. Video cameras with a live video feed are also available, increasing situational awareness between fire crews.
The optional laser rangefinder allows the operator to point at a building and see whether they’re at the right place to extend the outriggers. This enables quick and accurate positioning of the aerial, saving precious minutes during time-sensitive operations. It also helps when strategizing and making rescue plans for critical locations.
High voltage detection
Bronto also offers high-voltage detection options, useful in the heat of a fire incident or during utility operations, that automatically stops the unit when it detects high voltage nearby.
Wireless radio remote control
A radio remote control for your Bronto allows operators to operate the booms and water monitor without being at the cage or even at the turntable. This is useful for below-grade operations, and a critical safety feature when it’s dangerous for firefighters to get close to a weakened or flaming structure.
Always there when you need it – for safety above all
A Bronto is a versatile aerial platform solution for fire crews, integrating access, mobility, safety, and scalability. We’ll always be at your service to tailor your Bronto to the specific needs of your fire department, and to provide expert service to keep it running optimally throughout its lifetime.