Our homes are our place of safety, the area of comfort and familiarity where we rest after a long day at work or kiss our children a good night before bed. But what happens when our home becomes our worst nightmare and a significant fire breaks out? Hopefully, you will never have to face this, but what would you do if you did?
In the UK, there were 243 fire fatalities and 6,910 non-fatal casualties from 2019-2020 (according to Government National Statistics). For your safety, it is advisable to prevent fires from breaking out in the first place and be prepared in the event of a fire. Many different devices and equipment may help in a fire, including smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and fire smoke hoods and gloves. In this article, we discuss fire safety ladders and what to consider when choosing one.
If you live in a house or building with more than one floor, then a fire safety ladder could be included in your evacuation procedure. A ladder might give you a second option if your main route is blocked during a major fire. You might only have minutes before the house and stairwells fill with smoke preventing a safe escape. There are numerous fire escape ladders on the market, and it is essential to do your homework before purchasing to find the best option for you and your family.
What are the factors to consider when buying a fire escape ladder?
When making the decision to purchase a fire escape ladder, you might want to take the following into consideration:
- Is it safe for all the family to use?
- What is the height of your home?
- How much weight does it need to support?
- Does it come with any other extras?
- Is it going to be accessible to all of your family?
- Is it lightweight and compact?
- Is it a permanent fixture or a temporary option?
A fire escape ladder will only be helpful during an emergency if it is safe to use and accessible to all the family. Choose a ladder that is suitable for the height of your home and is lightweight and compact enough to store it away but can be moved if needed during a fire. Anti-slip features will be practical for young children or elderly loved ones, and some ladders come with ladder standoffs that stabilise the ladder at an angle appropriate for a safe descent. Remember, the ladder will also need to be strong enough to support multiple family members at the same time during an escape so therefore knowing the weight that it supports is crucial.
What should you do when you’ve purchased your ladder?
Do a trial run. The whole family should be involved in planning the fire evacuation procedure, and using the ladder should be no different. Every capable member of the family should try placing the ladder in the planned exiting window. Each family member should then climb down the ladder to understand how it should be safely used. Once everyone has had the opportunity to trial it out, place it in a safe place near the planned evacuation window.
Planning for a fire may seem like a pointless exercise now, but you and your family will be glad of it if a significant fire does break out. At the very least, you should have a fire escape route planned and a smoke alarm on each floor and inside your apartment to wake you in the night, as many accidental fires happen during the early hours of the morning. With the rapid spread of toxic gases during a fire, a smoke hood may allow the vital minutes to escape down smoke-filled stairwells of multiple storey buildings and is another instrumental piece of fire safety equipment.
If a severe fire happens in your home and you and your family are outside your house, you are safe. If you are outside, you are not risking the lives of you, your family, or attending firefighters – this is where you want to be and fire safety equipment will help you get there!