March 11, 2009
MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service Public Service Announcement: Don’t Fall from the Ladder!
With warm weather approaching homeowners are itching to fix up their homes and do some serious spring-cleaning. Statistics state that each year, more than 500,000 people are treated in hospital emergency rooms, doctor’s offices and clinics throughout the country because of ladder misuse. Many of these injuries are cuts, bruises and fractured bones. However, more than 300 people die each year from ladder injuries, which equates to about one ladder fatality each day!
Because ladder injuries are most often caused by improper selection and misuse, it’s important to know how to choose the right ladder for the job.
- First, look at the ladder’s duty rating and note the maximum weight load the ladder can safely hold. It’s important to remember that this rating corresponds to the total weight of the climber, plus the weight of all tools and gear the climber will bring on the ladder.
- The duty rating should be obviously posted on the ladder’s safety label. If the label cannot be clearly read, or if it’s missing or lost, consider not using the ladder. This may be a sign the ladder is too old to be used safely. At minimum contact the local hardware store for more information on the ladder’s safety ratings.
- Next, it’s important that the climber considers the ladder size. Measure the total height you would like to reach and subtract the climber’s height. This is the highest standing level of the ladder that you should select.
- Be sure that the ladder is tall enough that you will not be reaching at any time. Reaching can cause the ladder to topple over.
- Always inspect the ladder before using it. Check for any loose hinges or rungs, clean off any foreign substances that may be present (i.e. mud, grease, etc.) that might have accumulated on the ladder.
- Properly stabilize the ladder. Every ladder should be placed on a firm, level surface. Never place a ladder on ground that is uneven. Always engage the ladder locks or braces before climbing the ladder.
- Be sure to face the ladder when climbing up or down. Your body should be centered between the side rails. Maintain a firm grip and use both hands when climbing.
- Never use ladders in strong wind, and be sure not to place your ladder in front of any door that is not properly locked, secured or guarded.
- Never climb a latter while alone if possible. If you must work alone, keep a cell phone in your pocket so that you can get medical help should an accidental fall occur.
- When you are finished with the ladder make sure you store it in sheltered, dry, well-ventilated areas to prevent weather damage, such as rust and warping.
If you’re not sure or have questions about choosing your ladder or climbing it safely, be sure to ask. It’s always better to be safe than sorry. For more information on Ladder Safety contact the American Ladder Institute at 312-644-6610 or online at www.americanladderinstitute.org
EMERGENCY DIAL 9-1-1
MetroAtlanta Ambulance is one of Georgia’s designated 9-1-1-ambulance providers for unincorporated Cobb County including the cities of Acworth, Kennesaw, Marietta and Smyrna. MetroAtlanta Ambulance also provides contract interfacility ambulance transportation to 14 metro Atlanta hospitals throughout the greater-Atlanta area and north Georgia.