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The largest apparatus in the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) is an aerial ladder.  Within the HFD, this apparatus is commonly referred to as a ladder.  The main characteristic of an HFD ladder is the turntable-mounted aerial ladder.  A ladder company is staffed with five personnel consisting of a Fire Captain, a fire apparatus operator (Fire Fighter [FF] III), and three FF Is.   

The HFD utilizes three types of ladder apparatuses:

  • There are five tractor-driven ladder apparatuses, which have an aerial ladder mounted on a turntable at the tractor-trailer pivot point.  The tractor-driven ladder apparatus has a tillerman who steers the rear wheels at the end of the ladder.  
  • There are eight quints, short for quintuple combination pumper.  A quint is a fire service apparatus that serves the dual purpose of an engine and a ladder truck and refers to the five functions that a quint provides:  pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders.
  • There are two towers.  The tower has an elevated platform attached to the top of the ladder.  Fire fighters in the platform can direct the placement of the platform.  A fire fighting nozzle is mounted to the platform.  The nozzle's water stream can be directed by remote control.

The aerial ladder is actuated by hydraulic motors.  Power is transferred by the power take-off from the apparatus' diesel engine to the hydraulic motors.  All HFD ladder companies are equipped with a large-bore fire fighting nozzle and tip, known as a master stream.  The master stream nozzle is used during ladderpipe operations to direct substantial quantities of water to large fires or fires that are difficult to access.  Master stream nozzles can deliver water flow rates of up to 2,000 gallons per minute. 


Quint 12 from Waipahu uses its master stream during ladderpipe operations to reach the seat of a fire

Quint 34 is located at the Hawaii Kai Fire Station


The ladder's primary responsibilities include responding to:

  • emergency medical services responses
  • fires
  • hazmat incidents 
  • motor vehicle accidents 
  • natural disasters
  • requests for assistance 
  • search and rescues 
  • service requests



   Ladders are equipped with:

  • a thermal imaging camera
  • aerial and ground ladders
  • an automated external defibrillator (AED)
  • emergency medical supplies
  • fire fighting foam 
  • fire hoses and nozzles
  • generators
  • heavy rescue tools 
  • personal protective equipment
  • portable radios
  • power and hand tools
  • self-contained breathing apparatuses
  • ventilation equipment


Tower 9 (TW 9)


Control panel for TW 9's elevated platform.  The joysticks control movement through three axes of rotation.


View from TW 9's platform

Quint 31 with its aerial ladder raised and extended
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 02, 2013