Buying an Emergency Ladder – Your Guide to Safety
Emergency escape ladders are special types of ladders made to allow you to exit your home from a second or third story window during a fire or similar situation. There are some important factors to consider when buying an emergency ladder, which are outlined below to help you make an informed decision.
Height of Your Home
This is easily the biggest consideration to take into account as you look at the different emergency ladders out there. Basically, you want to make sure that the ladder is long enough to reach the ground from any window in your home. Emergency ladders typically express this through the number of stories in the home, but you should still take exact measurements of your property and the ladder to avoid buying one that falls short even a few feet.
Windowsill Attachment Method
There are several different types of windowsill attachment methods used among the various models, so you’re going to need to examine your sills to make sure that they are compatible. Commonly, the ladder has two hooks that fit over the bottom part of the window and wedge under the sill. If the attachment method doesn’t work with your type of window, then the ladder itself will essentially be useless.
Strength and Load Capacity
Read through the descriptions of the ladders to find out their load capacity so that you can make sure they are strong enough to support you and your family. Emergency ladders rate load capacity differently than stepladders, offering one value for the entire ladder and another for an individual rung. The individual rung value should be higher than the weight of the heaviest person in your family, and the total value to should be enough to support everyone in the family at once.
Ease of Use
This one can be a bit trickier to determine, but it can make a vital difference when you’re in the heat of the moment, trying to escape your home. There should be an easy release mechanism that makes setting up the ladder and extending it a quick and simple process. You also don’t want to get a ladder that requires any special setup prior to use, so that you don’t have to fumble with any special instructions or actions in order to escape.
Since you are most likely going to need this ladder to escape during a fire, you want the ladder to be able to withstand heat. Different manufacturers will use different terms to express this, calling it “fire resistant” or “flame retardant” and not adding anything else. Try to find a ladder that explains how and why it can withstand heat to identify the most dependable model.
Making the Final Choice
After you find an emergency ladder that is long enough for your home and strong enough for your family, make sure you purchase enough to allow for easy escape from every bedroom, not just a single location. Also, some ladders may be single use only, so keep this in mind.