Have you ever noticed the poor design of portable escape ladders? This realization came to me while I was watching Women of Ninja Warrior where the last part of the First Stage was an escape ladder that they had to climb up.
Think about it. To compensate for space and storage, they make it with strong nylon rope down the side. Not a bad idea. But, the biggest flaw in the design is based on the fact that in an escape situation the goal is to get down as quickly as possible. But seeing how difficult it was to climb up, there’s no doubt that climbing down in a stable fashion is just as bad.
The issue really lies in the center of gravity. We’re all more likely to step to the sides of a ladder, than the middle. This is why they developed the triangular shaped escape ladders. But even those are not as quick and friendly as you’d think. Again, due to the movable joints. At each joint, since it sways, it makes it difficult move quickly down. In fact, you’d probably be better off rappelling if you knew how and could.
In any case, depending on the style of escape ladder, there definitely is some improvement areas that could be worked upon. The goal here is how to not sacrifice stability for storage. The rigid ladders are always the easiest and best for quick movement but they also seem to be an eyesore in suburban areas. It might not be soon, but one of these days we’ll begin to see some fresh new designs.
Photo Credit: (jurek d.)