An uncontrolled fire has correctly been said to be a good servant but a mad master; it can lead to numerous hazards, loss of life, and property. The conventional ways of protecting yourself in a fire include a fire alarm, fire extinguisher, and a fire escape ladder.
You don’t want your emergency fire escape ladder to be tangled up, out of reach or blocked in case of emergency. In this article, we’ll discuss how to store your fire escape ladder correctly.
Why is Properly Storing a Fire Escape Ladder Important?
Some houses have in-built fire escape ladders, but usually, you have to buy a boxed one from a store or online.
Built-in fire escape ladders, or permanent ladders, are permanently attached to the buildings’ upper floors, all the way down to the ground floor.
In comparison, a boxed fire escape ladder is foldable or collapsible and can be attached to the window sill as a means of escape. Otherwise, it should be stored nearby for easy access.
Make sure that wherever you store a fire escape ladder:
- Nothing is blocking your access or reach towards the ladder.
- It’s in its original box so that it doesn’t get tangled with other household items.
When there’s a fire, everything is urgent and immediate – you don’t have the time to act, react, think or even blink before tragedy strikes. Storing the fire escape ladder properly is an important step that you need to take to prevent delays or obstructions to your safety and security.
How to Store a Fire Escape Ladder?
Proper storage of a fire escape ladder is one of its biggest limitations as a safety device.
You can store the ladder in any place as long as it’s easily accessible.
Suitable storage locations for a fire escape ladder are:
- Under your bed
- Below an escape window
- In your closet near an evacuation window
Where you store the fire escape ladder is your choice, but they should be very close to an escape window.
Portable fire escape ladders should generally be stored in their original boxes with any packaging tape or bands removed. Opening a sealed parcel in a state of panic can cause delays in escape.
Moving the Ladder From Stored to Escape Position
When there’s a fire reach for your fire escape ladder, place the ladder hooks over the window sill, and climb downstairs to safety.
It’s essential to know beforehand if the ladder hooks will fit over the window sill. Some window and wall combinations are so thick that the hooks won’t span them. This makes the ladder essentially useless, and can lead to a very dangerous situation with no means of escape.
A Properly Stored Fire Ladder Is Good Safety
When it comes to emergencies, never rely on just one safety plan. For your satisfaction and practical reasons, always have multiple escape plans to maximize your chance of survival when there’s a fire. These safety plans can include:
- Having working smoke alarms in every room.
- Teaching your loved ones how to navigate through smoke.
- Practicing a fire escape plan at least twice a year.
- Having a designated meeting spot in cases of emergencies, and informing that spot to your neighbors so they can guide fire-fighters.
- Having your address numbers clearly written and visible from across the street.
- An evacuation plan, fire hoses, fire extinguishers, and fire-fighters on speed dial.
It’s essential to have alternative means of escape in emergencies; fire ladders are a great start, but they’re not enough. It’s also vital that these fire ladders are placed in all stories of the house, near every emergency exit, and are easily accessible.
Without a doubt, fire escape ladders are a crucial part of your fire escape plan. But to maximize their utility, you need to ensure that they’re properly stored, easily accessible, and unobstructed.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.