Rear Mount or Mid Mount: Which is Right For Your Aerial Ladder Truck?

Determining which ladder mount to have for your department is an important choice to make. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends greatly on the needs of your department and how you plan to use it. Aerials are expensive apparatus, sometimes costing over a million dollars when bought brand new, so making the right call is of the utmost importance.

When considering the different ways you can mount your aerial, you have two main options: rear-mount and mid-mount. Each of these mounts comes with its own benefits and drawbacks that could make or break which you choose for your department.

Wondering how to decide which mount would be better suited for your apparatus? Read on to find out how to choose between rear-mount and mid-mount for your aerial ladder truck.

Rear-mount aerials

When looking at aerial ladder trucks, you’re most likely to see a rear-mount. They’re a popular choice for many departments due to the versatility offered by the style.

Are rear-mounts a good match for your department? Some of the reasons you may choose a rear-mount include:

  • Ability to reach more. Due to the position of the mount, you have a much greater reach than if using a mid-mount. Whereas with mid-mounts you can only get as low as an eight degree elevation, with rear-mounts you can extend to zero degrees. Not only this, you can rotate up to 200 degrees around you, expanding your ability to reach a fire.  
  • Less expensive. Choosing a mid-mount can cost around $80,000-$100,000 more than a rear-mount due to the time and parts needed to build it. If your department is operating on a lower budget, a rear-mount may be a far more reasonable purchase.
  • More storage space. The positioning of a mid-mount cuts your storage space significantly, meaning you may be stuck carrying essential items across multiple apparatus. With rear-mounts, you have far more space to keep the items you need right beside you.

Mid-mount aerials

Mid-mounts may be a bit more of a non-traditional choice, but still come with plenty of benefits. In fact, depending on the nature of your work, it may be necessary for your department to choose a mid-mount.

Here’s some reasons why you might you go for a mid-mount instead of a rear mount:

  • Lower travel height. For some departments, keeping height in mind is vital. For instance, if your station is older, you may have a far lower clearance than usual, or you may be working in an area with a lot of low power lines or underpasses. If this is the case, mid-mount aerials provide more leniency when it comes to height. With a rear-mount, you’re far less likely to navigate in places with limited height.
  • Lower center of gravity. Navigating with a rear-mount can be a bit more challenging due to the weight distribution. With a mid-mount, you’ll have a lower center of gravity, making those hard turns a little bit smoother.
  • Less obstructed driving. The location of the mid-mount makes it so that it won’t obscure your vision while driving, contrasting rear-mounts which can take up half the windshield. While learning to navigate with a rear-mount is possible, training time is decreased significantly when driving a mid-mount.

Are you trying to find the right aerial fire truck mount for your department? Contact the experts at Jon’s Mid America.

We can pair you up with an apparatus that fits your budget and the unique needs for your department.

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