Updated: June 8, 2015
Fire Safety Ladder Reviews:We've all heard the horror stories of families trapped inside a burning home or apartment building and unable to get out. I have always thought that in case we couldn't make it down our stairs and our a door I would just tie some sheets together and throw it out our 2nd story window with one end still attached to the bed post. After reading a recent article in our newspaper about a house fire in which not all the family members made it out alive I thought I better look into buying a fire escape ladder. These emergency ladders are really quite inexpensive for the piece of mind that you get from owning one. I assume I will probably never need to use it, but I know it's under my bed just in case. I used to think I would have time to do my "sheets strategy" and save my family but I realized in that panic of trying to get out of your house, you may not have time to tie sheets together and shimy down the side of your house. For around $50 you can purchase a fire escape ladder and be done with the worrying.
Buying Guide - There are lots of companies that manufacturer the escape ladders but the 2 most popular brands are Kidde and First Alert. It's not surprising to see these names as top sellers since they have been leading the safety industry for years by producing smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that families have come to rely upon. We own several Kidde smoke detectors in our house and they work just fine. I decided to buy 2 of these safety ladders - one for our master bedroom and one for my daughters room. In the best scenario I would like to think that I could get my daughter back to my bedroom and have her go down the ladder with my wife and I but you just never know. It's certainly not the type of thing you want to scare a kid with, but I felt that at age 10 she could understand how to use it if need by. Our plan is still to meet in our room in case the fire doesn't allow us downstairs to escape but in the event that the hallway is blocked with smoke and flames we each have our own ladder. Depending on how high up your house windows are you pretty much dictate what size rescue ladder you buy. The Kidde 13-Foot 2 Story Ladder should be sufficient for most homes but I went with the three-story ladders because our 2nd story bedrooms are higher than 13 feet off the ground. The 3 story ladder is good for up to 25 feet and it's not too much more expensive. The ladders can be stored fairly compact and it's good to go over the procedure of how to use them a few times to make sure that everyone understands. They can only be used once (not really sure why), so you aren't able to set them up and do a practice drill down the side of your house. The fire escape ladders will attach to most windows and the anti-slip rungs let you get down the ladder safely. Our local fire department recommended this model and I saw a few postings on Amazon from firefighters that call it "a proven safety tool". You can browse the top selling fire escape ladders online here.
Best Fire Escape Ladder:RECOMMENDED - The #1 seller on Amazon is the Kidde KL-2S 13-Foot, Two-Story Fire Escape Ladder with Anti-Slip Rungs - and it sells for less than $40. The ladder measures 13 feet long by 1 foot wide and the rungs are made with zinc plated steel. The rail material is red nylon and the ladder has been tested to 1000 pounds. It's strong, durable and compact so you can store it under your bed or in the closet. The fire ladder comes pre-assembled and ready to deploy in seconds. The Kidde fire ladder is flame resistant and the design keeps it tangle free. Comes with a 5 year limited warranty. Perfect for a two story home.
3 Story Fire Ladder:RECOMMENDED - Another top seller on fire safety websites and on Amazon.com is the First Alert EL53W-2 Three Story, 24-Foot Escape Ladder. The First Alert escape ladder measures 24 feet so it should be fine on most houses or apartments that are 2 to 3 stories in height. It features slip resistant rungs, steel rung stabilizers, and Dupont Cordura nylon strapping. The wide sill hooks work on window sills from 6 to 13 inches and it's tested to 1125 pounds. One owner took the ladder out to practice with her son and give him a chance to use it in case someday he had too. She said the setup was easy but putting it back in the bag was not easy. It's best to show kids the ladder and make sure they understand how to setup the top portion over the window sill, the ladder itself should fall near to the ground if it's released properly. A great investment given the lifesaving potential here.
See our buying guides for all ladder types below: