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Ladder Security

A telescoping extension ladder is an indispensable tool for maintaining a home, but stored improperly they can be a liability for you and your neighbor. In my area there have been reports of burglaries where the thief gained access to the homes through the second-floor window using a ladder they found in a neighboring yard; a good example of how some homeowners are aiding robbers and burglars by providing them the tools. Extension Ladder

Experts say it's difficult to thwart a determined professional burglar. However, they also claim that most residental burglaries and robberies are not committed by professionals but by oportunists who take advantage of careless homeowners.

A long extension ladder is not something that is easily hidden, but to store one outdoors for casual observation by strangers is an invitation for trouble.

There is no question that the only place for a wooden ladder is in a dry, protected location. Ideally, you should keep all ladders in a sheltered area away from moisture, heat, and, for fiberglass, direct sunlight. And store ladders indoors so that they don't provide burglars with easier access to the upper floors of your home, but this is not always possible..

If you find you have no choice and can't store your aluminum ladder inside your house, locked garage or garden shed, do yourself and your neighbors a favor by at least locking your ladder to a stationary object out-of-sight. Find a place where the ladder can't be seen from the sidewalk or street or by strangers making deliveries to your property or to your neighbor's property.

bike chain and lock The American Ladder Institute recommends that extension ladders should be stored horizontally on suports to prevent sagging. One way is to hang your aluminum ladder on several large hooks on the side or back of your house or garage; then screw one or more large eye screws to the wall near the hooks. Now you can run a chain through the eye screw and around the rungs of the ladder and lock the chain with a padlock. A bike chain and lock works well. Another method would be to chain a ladder to a chain-link fence post or large tree. Any lock used outdoors in this way will need to be sprayed several times a year with a lock lubricant.

For some tips on ladder safety see the Consumer's Report for Aug 2006.

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