The best fire escape ladder
Your home protects you from the elements. It keeps you safe and comfortable. In the event of an emergency such as a fire, however, it could keep you and your family from getting to safety. Equipping your home with fire escape ladders helps ensure that will never happen. You'll need to devise an emergency escape plan for every room of the house and purchase fire escape ladders that are reliable, can support your weight, and are not too heavy for a child to deploy.
Our guide outlines what you need to consider when shopping for fire escape ladders, and it includes our picks for the best ladders on the market. Because of its sturdy construction and ability to support up to 1,200 pounds, our favorite model is Werner's Fire Escape Ladder, which is available in two-story and three-story lengths.
Considerations when choosing fire escape ladders
There are two types of fire escape ladders: permanent or portable. The type you choose is a matter of preference as each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
A permanent fire escape ladder provides greater peace of mind because it is firmly fastened, and you will not have to worry about wrestling with installation during an emergency. Permanent installation can be complicated, however, and if you are not handy you may need to hire a professional.
A portable fire escape ladder can be kept stashed away in a closet or be deployed in different locations, but it requires presence of mind to properly secure at a moment's notice.
There are several factors you will need to consider when it comes to deciding which fire escape ladder is best for you.
For a fire escape ladder to be effective, it must be long enough to reach from the window to the ground. In most cases, a little too long is better than too short.
You will want a fire escape ladder that is strong enough to support multiple family members at once, especially if you have children.
It is essential that the fire escape ladder's rungs and rails have anti-slip properties to minimize accidents.
Ease of use
A portable fire escape ladder should be easy enough for a child to install without help.
Standoffs are the short arms that secure the ladder away from the house so you can get a toehold on the rungs and a handhold on the rails. Using a fire escape ladder without this feature can make for a perilous descent.
Most portable fire escape ladders cost between $50 and $100. Over $100, you will find permanent fire escape ladders as well as portable fire escape ladders that are longer in length.
Q. There is not a straight drop to the ground outside of my window. Can I still use a fire escape ladder?
A. Most fire escape ladders are flexible, so they can run over a porch, balcony, gable, or multiple roof lines. However, make sure that the model you are considering is safe for this type of situation. Also, you will need a longer ladder, so be sure to measure the total distance from the window to the ground including all obstacles.
Q. How many fire escape ladders do I need?
A. Experts recommend that you have two exits from every room in your house. Therefore, any bedroom that is located above the first floor and only has one door should have its own fire escape ladder.
Fire escape ladders we recommend
Best of the best: Werner Fire Escape Ladder
Our take: A reliable permanent fire escape ladder that is capable of supporting 1,200 pounds.
What we like: This model features lightweight, non-slip aluminum rungs and is easy to access and deploy, even in an emergency situation.
What we dislike: Requires installation. If you are not handy in that department, you will need to hire someone who is.
Best bang for your buck: Kidde Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder
Our take: A lightweight, budget-priced portable fire escape ladder that can support up to 1,000 pounds.
What we like: This emergency ladder is small and easy to store. The installation is straightforward, leaving little room for error. Features tangle-free deployment with anti-slip rungs.
What we dislike: Designed for one-time use only, so you will not get a practice run with this model.
Choice 3: First Alert Portable Fire Escape Ladder
Our take: A durable steel fire escape ladder that is rated to support up to 375 pounds.
What we like: This portable ladder has steel rungs with an anti-slip surface and features standoffs to ensure a safe descent. Rungs are supported by heavy nylon straps.
What we dislike: Deployment can be a little difficult, especially for children. Lower weight limit than other ladders.
Allen Foster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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