Ladders are a fire escape solution alternative to stairs.
Evacuation is a serious matter so why accepting an alternative solution like ladders?
Ladders are a good solutions in for example the following cases:
- Lack of space: An emergency staircase is a bulky solution, and there is not always enough space available.
- Aesthetics: For historic or aesthetically valuable buildings, planning regulations do not always allow for the placement of an exterior staircase.
- Layout of compartment: Sometimes, it is better to provide multiple escape routes For example, you may choose to have one fire escape stairway and two additional ladders in other corners of the building.
- Cost: An escape ladder is much cheaper than a fire escape stairway. Unfortunately, there are situations in which an escape ladder can be economically justified more easily than escape stairs. To evacuate a small number of people, a JOMY escape ladder is still a good reliable solutions.
It's better to have an escape ladder than no escape route at all!
Escape ladders as a substitute solution for fire evacuation
From the press: "Escape ladder saves dozens of lives!"
When deciding between an escape ladder or stairs, the following criteria are often used.
- Limited number of people: Sometimes, the number of persons to be evacuated via ladder is limited to 10.
- Low building: Sometimes, the number of floors for an escape ladder to be used is limited to 3 or 5. There are many situations where the emergency ladder allows an escape of the upper floors to the flat roof.
- Individuals with good mobility: Ladders are not recommended for evacuation of children, elderly people, or those with limited mobility.
- Familiarity of the users: It's an advantage if the users already know the ladder and the evacuation has been practiced. A ladder is easier accepted for a small office than for a small museum with constantly changing visitors.
- Although fire departments and installers like JOMY recommend stairs for fire escape, ladders make up about 75% of all escape routes in existing buildings.
Better an escape ladder than no escape route at all!
Design criteria of our escape ladders
Our permanent JOMY ladders follow a general design based on three important parameters:
- Dimensions: width of rungs, distance between ladder uprights, standard inclinations, the number of emergency ladders that have to be provided
- Material: galvanized steel, aluminum, stainless steel; other materials rarely used
- Available Options: counterbalanced, safety cage, fall arrest system, balcony access
Cage ladders for more safety?
Review of the arguments for and against ladders with a fixed hoop for more safety. Studies have proven that caged ladders cannot provide positive fall-arrest capability, but general requirements are not available.
- The standards for access and service ladders require a cage from a height of 3m (except for ladders with lifeline).
- The cage gives a psychological feeling of protection, preventing vertigo.
- In case of a fire, the cage can be an obstacle.
- A person in panic may block the ladder.
- The ladder can't be used with a child or with a back injury.
- The ladder is difficult to use for firefighters with equipment on their backs.
Scientific studies indicate that the cage offers little or no actual protection in a fall.
Study by the Health & Safety Executive UK
Preliminary investigation into the fall-arresting effectiveness of ladder safety hoops
There are several important conclusions drawn by this comprehensive study with simulations, accident analysis, and literature review.
- After studying the information from the references, the survey, from the accident database and the results from testing, it seems clear that caged ladders cannot provide positive fall-arrest capability, especially in the case of the three-upright design which was tested as part of this research. There is every possibility of a fall down the cage to the ground or other platform.
- There would appear, or so it seems, a possibility to stop the fall of a worker in certain circumstances, but this depends upon the attitude of the worker both before the fall and during the fall, and whether or not the worker manages to catch part of his or her body in one of the cage apertures, or manages to trap themselves in the cage some other way. In any event, it is a chance occurrence, and the opinion is that even if the worker could be caught by the cage, it could lead to significant if not fatal injury.
- The accidents reviewed indicate that workers fall down cages to the next level and are rarely caught. Injuries have been reported. Even if a fall is halted by limb entanglement within a cage, rescue would be extremely difficult process to carry out successfully.
- No test methods were discovered in this research for testing the fall-arresting effectiveness of caged ladders, whereas there are a number of standards in existence for FAS (ladder-mounted fall-arrest system).
- Inferences from the documentation reviewed make it clear that caged ladders do not provide the same level of protection as ladder-mounted FAS, although a number indicate that the protection methods are on a par, but confuse the issues or use evasive language. The vast majority, when referring to protective measures, tend to avoid the subject completely by referring to FAS specifically in terms of their fall-arresting effectiveness, and then to caged ladders only in a general protective sense. The whole matter of caged ladder protection is often left vague.
There is no general prescription (law, standard) about cages for evacuation ladders.
Suggested options for your egress ladder to improve the fire safety
JOMY permanent ladders offer a wide variety of options to suit almost every project requirement:
- Ladders with safety cage, with complete hoops, 3/4 hoops, or 1/2 hoops
- Ladders with rest landings according to standards: with changing ladder parts or folding landings
- Access ladder extensions, telescopic handrails, horizontal access balconies, upper balconies with rungs or steps to cross roof edges, custom made access landings, etc.
- Burglar resistant ladders with lower counterbalanced sliding ladder and access door with padlock or crash bar
- Many options to attach ladders, parallel or perpendicular to wall
- All distances, from .1m to 1m
Your own design ideas can be integrated into ladder construction. Your preferred JOMY ladder can be constructed for you on request.