Save Someone's Life with Emergency Escape Ladders
By: The Working Man
All buildings of more than one story should have an emergency
escape plan that includes a way out of the building other than
the normal stairways or elevators. Fire normally takes the same
path that humans do in a building, so the stairway may be a
dangerous exit, and an elevator should never be used if there is
a fire. The elevator wiring may fail and you do not want to be
trapped in an elevator in a burning building.
The simplest way to provide an alternate emergency escape plan is
to buy emergency escape ladders.
To set up your emergency escape plan and emergency escape
ladders, first decide which windows provide the easiest escape
for the areas of the building that people normally use. It is
especially recommended that you buy an emergency escape ladder
for any and all rooms in which people sleep or in which children
play. Don't forget guest rooms.
Make sure that the windows you choose are large enough for easy
exit and that there are not major hazards on the ground below
them. Then measure the width and depth of the windows that will
have escape ladders and record the locations and measurements of
each window, as well as the window sill's height above ground
You can choose to use ladders that are permanently mounted on the
wall below the windows, or ladders that are kept nearby and
secured to the window sills only when needed. If you choose to
stow the ladders until they are needed you will also need to
provide a secure and well-marked container that can be kept near
the window for storage of the ladder.
To find emergency escape ladder vendors, check the telephone
yellow pages in your area or search online for something like
"buy emergency escape ladder." Compare the various types and
decide which is best for your needs.
Some things to watch for when deciding what ladders to purchase:
1. An emergency escape ladder should be able to safely hold more
than one person at a time, and be rated to hold up to half a ton.
2. Make sure that the ladder you choose has "standoffs," the
blocks that hold the ladder rungs away from the house walls. They
help to steady the ladder and give the climber enough foot room
for a safe purchase on the rungs. The more standoffs that the
ladder has, the better it will work.
3. Look for ladders that are easy to manage, so that even in the
panic of escape from a real fire people will not be delayed in
deploying the ladders.
Once you have your ladders:
Read all the included instructions, and then make sure that the
ladders fit the windows they are to serve and that they reach all
the way to the ground when set up properly.
Then make sure everyone who uses or lives in the building,
including children, knows how and has practiced deploying the
ladders, and also that they know the proper procedure for using
them. (Let children practice from a first floor window as part of
a fire drill.) Steps to follow if portable ladders are used are
below. If the ladders are attached to the wall below the window,
simply leave out number two.
1. Close the doors to the room before opening the escape window
so that the fire doesn't draw oxygen in from the window and so
spread more quickly.
2. Get the ladder from its nearby storage bin and hook the top
portion of the emergency escape ladder over the windowsill and
drop the rest out the window.
3. When climbing down the ladder, keep your body close to the
ladder and hold on tightly. Climb all the way down as quickly as
you safely can and then get away from the building. It is good if
there is a pre-arranged spot for everyone to meet once out, so
that everyone can know that the others are safely out.
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