How to Pick a Fire Escape Ladder

Fires start quick and spread even quicker which often leads to panic during a dangerous situation. A well prepared home is the best defense for saving your family during a dire time of need such as a fire. If you live in a multistory home or apartment building then a fire escape ladder is one product you must have for a safe exit. It is very common for a building fire to cutoff access to certain areas including stairways and elevators. Not to mention, it can be very dangerous to use an elevator during a fire since you have no idea where the fire has spread. Here are some tips on picking a reliable fire ladder that will always be there for you during an emergency.

Determine Length

One of the first factors to consider is making sure it is long enough to reach the ground from the window. A good way to determine length is with a piece of rope, string or even an extension cord. Take the rope and drop one end out the window while holding onto the other end. Mark the rope with a marker or piece of tape indicating the window sill location. Now you want to either pull the rope back up or drop it to the ground. Go outside and stretch the rope out from the end you dropped to the ground to the marked location. Measure the distance and you now have the minimum length for your escape ladder. It is a good idea to do this for each window since the height may be different.

Window Size

Once you know the length you need to determine how wide the fire ladders can be and still fit through the window. All you need to do is measure the inner width of the window. The wider the ladder the easier it will be to climb down; especially during an emergency such as a fire where every second counts. You might also want to make a note of how the ladder can attach to the window sill; if there is a large lip or outcropping then you need to make sure your ladder will accommodate.

Meets Fire Code – ASTM F2175

Every reliable escape ladder that is safe for home or commercial use has been rated by the American Society for Testing and Materials or ASTM. It is very important to make sure your safety product meets ASTM standards to ensure the safety of you, your children and your residents. The ladder itself will be marked if approved by ATSM so this is easy to identify most the time.

Ease of Use

Deterring the length, width and standard for your fire online escape room will determine what ladders will actually accommodate your situation. Before coming to a final decision make sure the ladder is easy to use. You will likely only use the ladder during a time of dire emergency and panic is very common in these situations. Start by checking out how easy it is to deploy the fire escape ladder; if you are ordering online because of price or convenience this may not be an option but you can call the stores customer support to get a better idea. If you can checkout the product you are considering at a physical store prior to purchasing online. Or you might check to make sure the online store has an easy return policy in case the ladder does not meet your needs.


Escape ladders need to be very reliable since failure could lead to death or serious injury. I would recommend checking out consumer reviews on escape ladders as a good starting point. Another great option is to call your local fire department and ask for their recommendation. Firefighters encounter more fires and ladders than anyone else so go to the experts for advice. You can also ask questions about a specific fire ladder; most fire departments are happy to answer these questions because it makes everyone safer.

Once you find a fire ladder that fulfills the five requirements above you are ready to make your purchase. You want to get a fire ladder for each room that is more than 10 feet off the ground for a completely safe escape. Once you have the escape ladders you want to place them in an easy to access location. Do not put the ladder high on a shelf, behind boxes or under a stack of other items. The most common places are under the bed or under the window since they are easy to remember and easy to access. Some even opt to attach the ladder to the outside of the window with a quick release so that the ladder just has to drop to the ground. This is usually not aesthetically pleasing but does make things very easy during an emergency.

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