Buying a Fire Ladder? Don’t Forget These FeaturesBy - 09/23/2015
4 Factors To Consider When Buying A Fire Ladder
According to the NFPA, more than one-third of all home fire deaths occur in homes without a smoke alarm. In a nation where we are still fighting to educate people on the dangers of not having a smoke alarm and on buying the right kind of smoke alarm, encouraging people to also invest in a fire ladder seems like an uphill battle. However, it’s a fight worth fighting.
In Birmingham, Alabama, a little boy jumped from his apartment window to save his life from a raging fire. He was lucky, he made it out safely. A man in Ohio died attempting the same feat. Trapped, he jumped from the second floor of his burning home. There are many other stories, some joyous and others tragic. But most could have been avoided with the purchase of a fire ladder.
There are many different ladders on the market and not every fire ladder is as good as the next. There a few key factors to look at when you purchase a ladder, so consider these four factors when shopping for your ladder.
Fire Ladder Height
Fire ladders come in several different sizes. Before you buy a ladder, you need to think about the ideal length. Most ladders are either 14 feet or 24 feet. For a second story window, 14 feet is appropriate. A third story window should have a 24 foot ladder. Check the ground underneath the window for steep slopes, as this can put the window a further distance from the ground. If your second story window is higher than most, you should get the 24 foot ladder.
Keep in mind that a house with multiple stories will need a ladder for each floor off the ground level. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having a ladder in each occupied room above the first floor.
The golden rule for height … when in doubt, buy a longer ladder.
Fire Ladder Reusability
Drilling your fire escape plan is an important part of fire safety. Some fire ladders are not reusable, so practicing your escape route would be impossible unless you buy spare ladders which isn’t economical. You can avoid this problem by purchasing a ladder that is reusable and can be repacked after each use.
Some fire ladders go through rigorous testing, others through none. Only buy a ladder that has been tested by a certified organization like Underwriter’s Laboratories. Ladders tested by this organization have a UL sticker, but other organizations use different markers. ASTM is another reliable testing organization. Tested ladders are tested up to a certain weight, and this weight should be no lower than 1000 pounds. Look for all of the testing information before you buy your ladder.
Ease of Use
It can take one small flame under thirty seconds to become a dangerous fire, so a ladder that sets up easily can make a big difference. Look for one that is described as easy to deploy and one that is low in weight. When buying a ladder for a child’s room, this is especially important.
The devastation from a fire can be limited with a good fire safety plan. This includes having the right fire safety ladder- something that can keep you and your family safe and give you peace of mind. I recommend ladders by First Alert or Kiddie as both companies special in fire safety. In my own home I use a two-story First Alert ladder. At the time I bought it, it was on sale and less expensive than the Kiddie two-story, but I would have been open to either or.