Do you live in a two story home or apartment and if so have you ever considered buying a fire escape rope ladder? If you haven’t then how do you plan to get out of your home if there was ever a fire while you were upstairs with no way down? No one ever wants to think that something horrible like a house fire will happen to them but in 2009 alone fire departments around the country responded to more than 362,000 home structure fires. 62% of these homes either didn’t have smoke alarms or had them but they didn’t work. These fires resulted in more than 2,500 people losing their lives. So as you can see horrible things do happen and sometimes when they do people are seriously hurt or even die. But one thing that is evident even with these few statistics is that simple things like smoke detectors do work. Now you could settle for the minimum by only using smoke detectors in your home. Or you could prepare for the worst and buy other fire related products like a fire extinguisher and a fire escape rope ladder for ever room on the second floor or higher. This simple purchase my save your life or the life of someone you love. Now if all of this has your attention you are now probably have a million questions about rope ladders like are there different kinds, how much are they and where do I get one all of which will be answered in the next few paragraphs.
Buying a Fire Escape Rope Ladder
The very first and most obvious thing you need to know when buying a fire escape rope ladder is how long does the ladder need to be? The answer is fairly easy most ladders are sold as two story or three story units. Or you can use a large tape measure and find out what the distance from your widow sills to the ground is and buy a ladder that is close to that length. Common lengths range from 12’ to 25’ but there is at least one brand ResQLadder by Bold Industries that makes ladders that are 50’ long. These emergency escape ladders are designed for use in commercial and office buildings up to six stories high. One other thing you need to consider before buying is the width of your window sill. Each brand seems to have a different size range that it will work on. To find the width of your window sill use a tape measure and measure the entire window including the outside siding and the trim on the inside. Common sill widths range up to about 10”.
Best Fire Escape Ladder for the Home
Now that you know what you need out of you fire escape ladder you can start looking for a good one to buy. There are many brands available but there is only one that standout as the best which is the previously mentioned ResQladder brand. Not only is 100% made in the USA these portable fully assembled emergency escape ladders have hooks and rungs that are constructed of 18/20-gauge steel which are connected with 2/0 double loop chains. They are also tension tested to over 1,000 pounds making them plenty strong for more than one person to climb down at a time. The ladders come packaged in a corrugated storage case, are parachute loaded at the factory for quick and easy deployment and are ready for use right out of the box. The large hooks are made to quickly and easily hook over any window sill under 10”.
Amazon Price: $147.96 $132.97 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2013)
One other feature that makes the ResQLadders one of the best is customizable standoffs which are the little legs that keep the ladder from lying right against the house or building. These standoffs can be removed around to conform to special wall conditions like windows and other obstructions below the escape window. To make these adjustments simply deploy the ladder out the window you plan on using then adjust the standoffs to locations that work the best. This is also a good time for you and your family to practice your fire escape plan. Have each member of you family unpack and deploy the ladder. Practicing the climb down isn’t a bad idea either. In one review I found a family had their 3 ½ year old do all of this by himself with no problems which shows how easy these ladders are to use. There are a total of five different sizes with each size having two different models. One model has plastic sleeves that cover the chains for a more comfort grip. The other model doesn’t have sleeves so you will be grabbing bare chains. The retail price of the ResQLadders ranges from about $105 to $330 depending on the size you buy and whether or not it comes with sleeves. The price difference between the models with and without sleeves is about $30. And one last thing that makes these worth the money is the lifetime limited warranty.
Cheap Fire Escape Rope Ladders to Consider
Now there is one other brand of fire escape rope ladders that you may want to consider that is much less expensive than the ResQLadder but like everything you get what you pay for. The First Alert EL52-2 Two Story 14 Foot Escape Ladder and the EL53W-2 Three Story 24 foot Escape Ladder are not bad ladders but they are very basic and lack the added features that make the ResQLadder great. For example instead of chains the First Alert models have DuPont Cordura nylon strapping that connects each of the steel rungs. They also don’t have the standoffs so the ladder can not be used if there are any obstructions below the window being used. This includes other windows. But other than this the First Alerts models still do the job they were made to do. Features they do have include being fully assembled, quick, easy and ready to use. They have a 375 pound weight capacity and a six year limited warranty. The rungs are coated with a slip resistant epoxy and have stabilizers on each one to help keep you steady and balanced. The window that is used with these escape ladders must be at least 20” wide and 32” high with a sill no less than 6” and more than 13”. Retail on the First Alert models ranges from $70 to $120 but can be found online for much less.
Amazon Price: $69.99 $31.95 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2013)
Where to Buy Fire Escape Rope Ladders
There are many places you can buy fire escape rope ladders including most big box stores like Walmart, Lowes and Home Depot. But you will most likely find the best deals online at places like Amazon which will also have lists of reviews from actual owners for you to read if you need more help deciding which model to buy. Just be careful and know what you are getting. Also as one last tip always open your fire escape ladder and make sure everything is there and in working order. You don’t want to wait and find out something is wrong when you actually need it.
Amazon Price: $65.99 $32.79 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 30, 2013)