You might be surprised at just how many different variations of fire ladders exist. While these have existed for quite some time and are a staple of fire safety for buildings with more than one level there are a number of interesting innovations that are coming to redefine some of the more basic models of the past. Here we’ll look at some of the minor differences you’ll find in fire ladders and the potentially big impact they can have on safety.
The Basic Variations
One important distinction to make is that between fire escape ladders and fire escapes. While fire escapes are typically permanent fixtures that are installed during a building’s construction this is not the case with fire escape ladders. Fire escape ladders are typically movable devices anchored beneath the window and generally made of rope, chain, or metal wire and which can be moved from one window to another depending where it is needed. Some more modern incarnations of the fire escape ladder include eye bolts or metal bars that are permanently installed under windows where the fire escape ladder is attached. Even more advanced are fold out ladders that are permanently anchored in place outside of windows. Finally there are even specialty variations for roof and dormer windows.
Who Needs a Fire Escape Ladder?
When it really comes down to it most homes and businesses that have a second or third floor could benefit from having a fire escape ladder though it really does come down to the number of escapes available. Homes or businesses with a single set of stairs could certainly benefit from having a fire escape ladder. However, there are a few basic restrictions to be able to use it effectively. Firstly, only able bodied people will be able to utilize the ladder so it may not be applicable for elderly or disabled people. It’s also important to make sure, depending on which style of fire escape ladder you are using, that the wall beneath your window is strong enough to either support the hooks or eye bolts. It’s important to test your ladder before you need it in an emergency situation. Do this by installing it and trying to climb up from the bottom rather than out the window. Finally, see if there are other windows beneath where you would be using your ladder and if there are make sure your ladder has rubber capped distance pieces that won’t break the window.
Lastly, it’s important to know how to properly use escape ladders in the event that you need to do so in an emergency situation. This means practice as well as proper instruction. Always a good idea for families is to take one day every year to practice fire and emergency safety. This would be a great time to bust out the fire escape ladder and the kids might even have fun at the same time (though you should be clear it’s not a toy).