- Fire escape -

:: Posted :: 2018-01

Our house has an awkward shape that doesn't suit an escape ladder, but as it's three-storeys high I don't much fancy dropping to the ground in the event of fire. Something tells me the human body wasn't built to endure such treatment.

What to do? After Grenfell Tower I'm not sure I'd want to close the bedroom door and wait for the fire brigade to rescue me. So, my mind turned to a rope descent - provided it could be mounted away from the lower floor windows; fire does nasty things to nylon rope. I had to convince my partner (another OAP) that she's not too old to shin down the outside of the building. She's game to try but pointed out her arthritis-weakened grip would make it unsafe simply to put knots in the rope. We'd need some mechanical advantage to control descent. If not, we risked being back to the free-fall issue.

On investigation I found inexpensive harnesses on eBay, and - on Rock+Run's website - a comprehensive collection of climbing ropes, carabiners, webbing belts and belay devices (designed to add friction). I've also tracked down a couple of proper eye-bolts & drilled them into the wall above our bedroom window. The pundits say you should really have three points of suspension, but that's belt, braces and a bandana. We're waiting till the weather's warmer before our first full trial run, but the kit's all assembled and stashed under the bed in case of an emergency. Would you know a Klemheist (Machard) knot if you saw one?

A side benefit is that I can use the same suspension points with a 30m hiking rope to secure myself when I haul the KArcher power-washer onto the back roof to clean off the solar panels, which are now covered in lichen owing to all that clean Cotswold air. Must replace the old TV aerial, too...

Oh yes, and in these politically-correct times I have to add (lest I'm later sued):

Do not try this at home

Rock+Run's website

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