$26 Fire Ladder

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About: If you think I am funny here try my twitter @BaconPuppets

So my neighbor had a little problem yesterday and it made me think about how trapped I would be if there was a fire anywhere in my house..... and how high up my windows are in my bedroom. I sleep at the end of a long hall that is pretty much attached to every room in the house. Time to make a ladder.

Step 1: Materials

Get 100 feet of 3/8th inch rope and a ten foot length of 3/4 inch electrical conduit. You will need some way to cut the pipe and de-burr it. Standard safety gear as well. Gloves, ear plugs, safety glasses, dust mask, steel toes.

Step 2: Prep Pipe

Cut one foot sections, de-burr and sand the pipe ends. Wear gloves for this for sure. Especially sanding. These are razor sharp!

Step 3: Wash Pipe Sections

Don't tell my wife I did this!

Step 4: Find the Middle of Your 100 Foot Rope.

Simple knot. Leave a loop. This knot doesn't look like much but there is no way to screw it up and it can only get tighter.

Step 5: Measure the Top End

You'll want to leave enough up top so the rungs are outside when you put it out the window. If your wife walks in on you with an armful of rope in the bedroom wiggle your eyebrows suggestively till she leaves or smiles.

Step 6: First Rung

Put one end of the rope thru one way and the other the other way.

Step 7: Knot It

On each side where the rope exits the pipe make a loop, tie the simple knot, and tighten it leaving one foot of rope between the rungs.

Step 8: More Rungs

Use the unused rungs as spacers to measure the next rung.

Step 9: Repeat

Keep going till your ladder is finished. Finish the bottom with a simple knot. Tape and cut off the extra.

Step 10: Find a Stud

You can use a magnet to find a couple screws to see which way the studs go.

Step 11: Kiss Your Damage Deposit Goodbye!

So $13 for the rope, $13 for the length of pipe and a couple hours of my time. It will holds my weight and even if it doesn't better to be on my ass on the lawn than trapped in my room. This ladder will only function in one direction so securing it's top to the wall before you need it is a good idea. That and I just saw a house almost the same as mine turn into a flaming shell in about ten minutes so faster is better in this case. I hope you find this useful. And I hope you never need this.

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    28 Discussions

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    michaelg251

    10 days ago

    Please, under NO circumstances make this ladder. It is dangerous beyond comprehension. There are No pieces of hardware shown in this ible that are rated for this application. The eye screwed into the wall is a malleable type that now has a side load placed upon it. In all likelihood it will pull out of the wood stud after bending because it will just rip through the dry wall due to the angle of the load placed on it. The type of rope shown is totally unreliable and certainly NOT meant to hold the weight of a person despite what the rating on the package says.
    Raned: PLEASE do not attempt this for a 3 story escape mechanism. Purchase a wire rope ladder made by a reputable company for your own safety.
    I have worked in the rigging industry for over forty years as an installer, user and an inspector. Please trust my judgment on this one

    4 replies
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    keith_artmichaelg251

    Reply 4 days ago

    So many ifs and buts - if its constructed from unrated materials and fixings you might as well just jump from the window-ledge. To add to this [even when proper safety equipment is used] have your family, kids etc ever climbed down a rope ladder? In the dark, perhaps? While terrified? IS an extremely sharp learning curve REALLY 'peace of mind'? If you're frightened of fire [quite understandable] then make proper, safe arrangements, and know how to use them. Even lowering children with a bed-sheet rope 'could' be more reliable than this.

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    Peterthinkingkeith_art

    Reply 3 days ago

    This is for me to leave. All my kids have been insured and any house fire would be quite profitable for me.

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    Peterthinkingmichaelg251

    Reply 9 days ago

    Too late. I already made it and used it to crawl in and out of my house. That screw bolt held up just fine.

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    No1Optimistmichaelg251

    Reply 9 days ago

    Your points are taken, but, "perfect is the enemy of good".

    When there is a fire I'd much rather have Peterthinking's rope escape ladder than the the wire rope ladder made by a "reputable" company which I could not afford.

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    fran=1

    Question 6 days ago on Step 3

    did you have any trouble getting your feet on the rungs with them being so close to the wall?

    1 answer
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    PeterthinkingGregS278

    Reply 10 days ago

    I think the hassle of manufacturing safety equipment to government standards would prevent me from doing that. This is a single use last ditch thing. Better than burning to death though.

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    Raned

    10 days ago

    I'm curious about how to make sure the rope is long enough. One bedroom is 3 stories up, though a deck is just one story below and we could climb onto the neighbor's deck. But the kids' rooms are two and a half stories. It seems like those knots would take up a lot of length.

    1 reply
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    PeterthinkingRaned

    Reply 10 days ago

    100 feet does about one and a half stories. I had no idea how much rope I would need when I started. But I knew I needed at least ten feet to get close to the ground so I made ten rungs and started from the middle of my rope. Doubling the length would just mean double the materials probably. Avoid stretchy hardware store rope for sure on such a long length. Use a proper climbing rope.

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    sconnors

    Tip 10 days ago

    I was wondering why you left the big loops of rope at every rung. Tieing a simple overhand knot around the other rope would be neater and hold as well. However you make it, having an emergency ladder for a second exit is a good idea!

    1 reply
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    Peterthinkingsconnors

    Reply 10 days ago

    I wanted a simple knot that also left a hand hold. And this knot is larger and cannot be pulled thru the tube.

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    betwys1

    10 days ago

    This ladder is not fireproof. Cavers use ladders that ARE fireproof. They use aluminum tubing, and WIRE rope. 1/8, 3/16 or 1/4 diam wire works nicely. You need a crimping tool and ferrules, or thin wood screws through the wire at each rung end, with an epoxy end plug to hold the screw in place.

    1 reply
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    Peterthinkingbetwys1

    Reply 10 days ago

    No this ladder is not fireproof. It is only to leave and avoid fire. Not climbing thru them.

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    GDC

    10 days ago

    Great concept and execution. I'm wondering g why you say it only functions in one direction though.

    1 reply
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    PeterthinkingGDC

    Reply 10 days ago

    Since the only thing holding the rungs is the knots hanging the ladder upside down will allow the rungs to slide out of position.

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    craftyv

    10 days ago on Introduction

    It is a very good idea to have a safety ladder but may I say that I saw a game show where people had to climb a ladder such as yours, it was very hard. The trick was the ladder swiveld and twisted from the narrow join at the top. Great idea but perhaps a straight top would be safer.Thank You.

    1 reply
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    Peterthinkingcraftyv

    Reply 10 days ago

    Well it doesn't do that against the house at all.

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    Norm1958

    10 days ago

    Thank you for this. I've been thinking about this for some time.
    We have an elderly wooden house with no plastic siding or chipboard sheathing thank goodness but you still worry. Once a house gets going on fire, there is little escape especially from the upper floor[s] since most fires start on lower floors.
    I'm going to follow your pattern but try plastic pipe for convenience. See how it works.
    Just a note of interest:
    Staying in China at a modern hotel with all the safety bells and whistles/alarms/sprinklers/exits you will find a box beneath the exterior window which contains a rope, stanchions to attach it to and instructions in English on how to bail out of the building if necessary.