Installing fire escape ladders to bedroom windows gives your family chance to evacuate the house quickly and safely in the case of a fire. Stairways can become blocked during a fire, earthquake or other home emergency. If so, upper-story windows may be your family’s only means of escape!
Prepare Your Home - Check all upper-story bedroom windows to be sure they open easily. Oil metal bedroom window frames to allow the windows to be opened easily. Remember, your children are not as strong as you are, so they may have more trouble opening a sticking window.
Remove and replace each window screen. Taking your screens out and quickly re-installing them will let you know that they are not wedged in too tightly.
Choose Quality Fire Escape Ladders - Examine the number of standoffs each fire ladder has. Standoffs are the curved metal parts of the ladder that hold the rungs away from the side of the house. A ladder with more standoffs will be easier to use and more stable.
Select bedroom fire escape ladders that can hold at least 1,000 lbs. This is called the load limit, and should be clearly listed on the side of the ladder box.
Opt for permanent fire escape ladders to get the most secure and reliable fire escape routes. Permanent ladders are professionally installed on your home and are operated by a switch in the bedroom.
Buy 25-foot ladders for bedrooms located on the third or fourth floors of your home. Second-story bedroom need 15-foot ladders.
Choose steel-framed ladders for durability. Plastic-framed ladders may bow or split in the heat of a fire.
Practice Installing the Ladders - Discuss how to install portable ladders with your family. Portable ladders are stored in boxes underneath bedroom windows, and you install them when needed.
Remove the screen from the window before using the ladder. Take the fire ladder from its box and hook the upper part of the ladder over the windowsill.
Check to be sure the top of the ladder is securely on the windowsill, and throw the remaining rolled up ladder out of the window. You can then climb out the window and down the ladder.