Having an escape ladder ready, and always used as a part of your family's safety drills, can save time in escaping a fire, and that alone can help save precious lives. Repetitive drills can These kinds of ladders are easy enough for a child to use, from getting it out and placing it in the window, to climbing down unassisted. If someone becomes stuck or freezes, it's possible for a firefighter to climb on and up, and then retrieve the person, also.
Not all fire departments have ladder trucks, and some do not reach all floors of all buildings in their areas. While they should, budget restraints can often prevent upgrades and maintenance that would help create more effective fire departments. As construction in small towns helps grow that area in size, fire departments are still sometimes the last to find their budgets increased enough to purchase trucks with longer, taller, ladders. Having your own ladder that is easily used can be extremely beneficial in situations like this.
Ladders should be placed near windows in bedrooms that have access to the ground. Windows that are not directly over other, lower-floor windows should be chosen over those that do have another window below them. If you live in an apartment building, keep in mind that the higher floors may not be low enough to the ground for use with a ladder alone, but will get those using it closer to the ground, and out of harm's way, where they can be more easily rescued by firefighters on the ground.
Ladders should not be placed over your home's porch roofs or awnings without consulting your local fire department for guidance. In apartment buildings, this concern isn't typically the same because of the way this type of building is constructed. In most areas, this consultation with fire department staff can be conducted at the same time they provide checks on fire alarms and smoke detectors. Even if there is a small fee, it is an investment that is well-worth the money.