How to Increase Your Chances of Surviving a Vehicle or Plane Crash

How to Increase Your Chances of Surviving a Vehicle or Plane Crash

No one likes to think of being involved in accidents or crash could happen to them, but should an accident occur there are statistically proven preparatory and response strategies that can increase your chances of surviving. These preparatory and response strategies have both physical and mental elements that when acted on together, may save your life.

Individuals trained in survival techniques will tell you that being prepared requires a positive mindset that is void of a fatalistic attitude that you are automatically doomed if involved in a significant accident. Rather, individuals who focus on the various things they could do to increase their odds of survival and act upon those thoughts and decisions have a greater chance of making it out alive.

How to Survive a Vehicle CrashHow to Prepare Ahead of Time to Increase Your Chances of Survival

  1. Dress appropriately. Yes, what you wear can have an impact on helping you survive a crash or increasing your risk of injury and not surviving.
  • Wear snug fitting as compared to loose-fitting clothing as this can offer protection against getting snagged on objects that could restrict your movement and chance of escaping a wreckage.
  • Wear clothing made of cotton or natural materials as these do not burn or melt as rapidly as does clothing made from synthetic materials. Any additional cushioning that layered clothing may offer can also help absorb impacts.
  • Wear shoes that can be tied with laces to prevent them from being knocked off. You might have to walk to a safe location or through sharp debris. Because lower extremity (foot, ankle, and leg) injuries are common in both vehicle and plane crashes, shoes that provide ankle support may also prove helpful in escaping the wreckage.
  • If you know you will be traveling in cold weather, making sure you have sufficient clothing that you could put on to protect you from the elements if needed is wise.
  1. Wear your seatbelt and be properly positioned. Whether in a vehicle or a plane, wearing your seatbelt offers protection.
  • As it pertains to a vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTFA) states that half of all vehicle accident deaths could have been prevented if the victim would have been properly wearing a seatbelt. Of course, the proper application requires that the lap belt be securely fastened low around your hips (hip bones). Wearing it higher not only reduces its effectiveness but may lead to damage to internal organs. Also, the shoulder harness should be securely worn across the shoulder and chest, and not tucked under your arm or placed behind your back. Your seat should be positioned mostly upright and your back pressed against it and feet placed flat on the floor. All the safety designs are based on this positioning.

Also, be sure that your airbags are in proper operating mode and engaged for activation should a crash occur.

  • As it pertains to a plane. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) states that a seatbelt must be applied (and shoulder harnesses if installed) during aircraft movement on surface, takeoff, and landing. If a crash is going to occur, research has shown that the best impact positioning is to lean forward and hold your head against the seat ahead of you to reduce the risk of the secondary impact of the head and pull your limbs inward toward your body to reduce them from flailing about on impact.

Lower extremity injury (broken feet and legs) is common in plane crashes and is associated with impending escape from the wreckage. Storing your carry-on bag beneath the seat in front of you, as compared to in the overhead storage, will offer some padding against injury and help prevent legs from sliding under and becoming caught or pinned.

While the FFA also states that no seat is safer than another on a plane, statistical data from post-analysis of plane crashes shows that individuals that sit in the middle seats of the rear 1/3 of the plane are safer, experiencing a 32% fatality rate, while those seated in the middle section of the plane have a 39% fatality rate, and those sitting in the front 1/3 section of the plane have a 38% fatality rate. It is believed that being somewhat protected from impact by being surrounded by other people and/or structures contributes to this protection. Further, sitting within 5 rows of an exit was also associated with increased survival rates, demonstrating that a quicker exit of a wreckage can make the difference between death and survival.

It is also strongly advised to pay close attention to the pre-flight safety briefing instructions as data has shown that most passengers do not pay attention. As a demonstration to the importance of paying attention, only 10 of the 150 passengers on board the 2009 US Airways flight that landed in the Hudson River grabbed their life vests and evacuated with them.

  1. How to Survive a Plane CrashEliminate potential flying objects, or properly secure them.

While this recommendation is more applicable as airline regulations require that your carry-on bags be properly stored in overhead bins or under the seat in front of you, the number of potentially dangerous objects that could be accelerated in high rates in the event of an accident. These projectiles could be unfastened passengers to cell phones, laptop computers, backpacks, pets, and a whole assortment of other items that people may carry in their vehicles.

Use storage locations wisely to secure as many items that are traveling with you, use unoccupied seatbelts to strap down backpacks, place certain objects under seats when possible, and take advantage of your trunk or pickup bed to place certain larger items.


What is a ANSI 107-2010 Class III Safety Apparel?

What is a ANSI 107-2010 Class III Safety Apparel?

9732- High Vis JacketThere are several safety regulatory organizations whose purpose is to provide guidelines designed to provide individuals, usually employees or workers, with protection from identified potential hazards associated with the work they perform.

The American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear (ANSI 107-2010) provides guidelines for the selection and use of high-visibility safety apparel ultimately directed toward keeping personnel/workers safe while on the job where worker visibility is reduced and the risk for collision between worker and vehicle or equipment is high. This is accomplished by making the worker more visible through outerwear designed to include fluorescent and reflective materials strategically placed on the apparel that cause the worker to significantly “standout” in a variety of environmental or trafficked conditions.

Specific to ANSI 107-2010 guidelines:

  • What are the applicable apparel items: Jackets – including rainwear, trousers, vests, shirts, coveralls, gloves, and headwear.
  • What are the typical settings where ANSI 107-2010 apparel is required: Workers in construction, maintenance, warehouse, emergency and incident responders – police, firefighters, EMS, utility services, airport ground crew, volunteers working public access roadways, etc.
  • In addition to the high-visibility reflective material requirements, what are other unique characteristics of ANSI 107-2010 apparel: The outerwear items must be engineered to be able to be worn comfortably for long periods of time (a full workday), uniquely designed or customized for different types of wearer activities, and also the varying degree of risk associated with the unique work environment and job performance requirements.

Have there been any revisions to ANSI 107-2010?

The ANSI/ISEA 107 – 2015 revision designates for a specific “type” of high visibility safety apparel based on the unique work environment of the wearer.

  • Type “O” (Off-road): Apparel designated for workers in an environment that involves moving vehicles or equipment, but that are not required by *MUTCD to wear high visibility safety apparel. This includes settings where there may be collision or struck-by hazards from moving vehicles, equipment or machinery not operating on public access rights of way or temporary control zones.

*Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) of the Federal Highway Administration.

  • Type “R” (Roadway): Apparel designated for workers in an environment with moving equipment or vehicles and are directly exposed to roadway traffic. These apparel items have additional amounts and location placement of high-visibility materials that allow for better outlining of the human form.
  • Type “P” (Public Safety – Police, Fire, EMS): Apparel designated to provide for additional options for emergency personnel such as police, firefighters, and Emergency Medical Services personnel. This requirement enhances the rapid differentiation between these different emergency and incident responders, as well as offers unique features that allow the individuals to carry and have convenient access to different equipment.

Because these different “types” of apparel allow for diversity based on a specific work environment and the associated risks, there are different classes based on the amount of background and reflective material to be used and specific placement requirements of reflective material, In addition, there may be unique technical or functional requirements for the specific job that affects the apparel design.

These types of apparel design requirements are thus designated into classes 1, 2, or 3.

  • Class 1: Intended for use by workers in jobs with the lowest risk. Specifics include jobs where traffic is slow, less than 25 mph, and work is taking place at a relatively safe distance from the traffic. These vests must have a minimum of 155 square inches of reflective tape and the strip must go around the middle of the vest as well as over the shoulder. Sleeves are not required with this class of vest. These apparel items usually come in yellow, orange, and lime colors.
  • Class 2: Intended for use by workers in work environments that pose a greater risk than that of the Class 1. For example, these requirements include traffic moving less than 50 mph but greater than 25 mph. These vests must be larger in size as they require that more high visibility and reflective areas be visible. They must provide at least 775 inches of safety yellow or orange background material and 201 square inches of reflective stripping. These apparel items usually come in yellow, orange, and lime colors.
  • Class 3: Intended for workers in the most dangerous or highest risk environments. These vests require more surface area of high-visibility material and are typically worn by workers where nearby traffic is traveling in excess of 50 mph. It also is for use by emergency personnel or tow truck operators working in hazardous conditions such as during a hurricane or blizzard or other conditions where visibility is at a minimum.

One of the best selling ANSI 107-2010 Class III high-visibility jackets is made by Charles River Apparel and sold by Sweatshirt Station. You can purchase this jacket by clicking the link HERE.

Are Rain Jacket Reflective Strips Helpful?

Driving at night - OSDA few nights ago, while I was driving back from visiting my parents, I saw a jogger nearly get hit by a car. I could tell that the driver of the other vehicle didn’t see the jogger – I dont blame him or her as the jogger was wearing a black jacket with dark blue sweat pants. Although most people do not have a safety vest in their wardrobe, whenever I’m driving in the dark or rain and fail to see a pedestrian as soon as I’d like, I wish everyone was wearing reflective gear! 

So, are rain jackets reflective strips helpful? YES! A reflective stripe acts as a source of light as it bounces the light from headlights or street lamps into onlookers’ eyes to make the wearer more visible. It is beneficial in a variety of situations. 

The obvious few individuals who have safety reflective strips on their apparel are safety workers at construction sites or traffic control workers. Emergency personnel may also have reflective stripes on safety vests so they are visible in all sorts of situations where they are needed so that citizens can see them coming. 

Whether you are a safety worker, work on a construction site or not, being seen on a rainy day, thunderstorm or when it’s getting dark outside can keep everyone safe. 

Reflective Apparel for Everyone

Investing in a reflective vest or jacket to wear while running is a great idea, especially if you plan on running in the dark or in low visibility settings such as rain or snow. However, a reflective vest isn’t always fashionably sensible for someone who is out at night with friends and family to dinner or the movies. As a result, some companies have designed high-quality apparel that have built-in safety reflective strips on the jacket.

One such company is Charles River Apparel. They have a line of rain jackets that are fashionable, comfortable and durable. The jackets are designed with a safety reflective strip on the jacket. The great thing is that the company has jackets for all ages (Adults to Toddlers). Having rain jackets with a built-in safety reflective strip will greatly improve the ability of drivers to see you in the dark, rain or snow! It is especially helpful for younger children who may not be tall enough to be as visible to oncoming cars. Teaching kids to stay out of the road can take a few months before they grasp the seriousness of the situation and develop the maturity to be able to follow through with that understanding. 

Our whole family has the Charles River Rain Jacket in a matching color for the girls. The similar color for the girls helps us spot them quickly and easily when we are in large crowds. I like that they are light and compact well so they do not take up a lot of space on trips and can easily packed in my car, bag or purse. They are small enough so that we can store them in the back of our car for quick access when it starts getting cooler and dark outside. The jackets are not tight-fitting so they can also act as an outer layer over a big sweater in the Fall or Spring depending upon your weather. I have also found that because they are not tight fitted, they fit my kids for years and I don’t have to worry about them outgrowing them in the first season. 

Charles River Rain Jackets for the whole Family

At the park, kids can become distracted easily and with all the excitement of playing can easily forget the dangerous road only a few feet away. Likewise, it is easy to become distracted while driving these days. If you add little wet roads or setting sun, visibility can decrease quickly. I always feel more comfortable when my kids have a reflective strip on their jacket to make sure they can always be seen. 

It is also easier for me to spot them in the yard when it starts getting dark. I am a big believer that it definitely takes a village to raise a community and if we want others to watch out for our children when we aren’t in reach than let’s make sure they can always be seen.

Below are the rain jackets we got for our family – I highly recommend them! – Stay Safe!

1- Men’s New Englander Rain Jacket 9199
Women’s New Englander Rain Jacket 5099
Girls New Englander Rain Jacket 4099
Youth New Englander Rain Jacket 8099
Children’s New Englander Rain Jacket 7099
Toddler New Englander Rain Jacket 6099

Guest Post By: EMILY

Is it Bad to Inhale Fire Extinguisher Residue Dust?

Recently, I spoke with a lady who had the unfortunate experience of a kitchen fire occurring in her home. Luckily for her, they had a portable fire extinguisher in the kitchen and knew how to use it.

After the fire, they were faced with the issue of safely cleaning up the fire extinguisher residue. One such question was the dangers of inhaling the fire extinguisher residue dust.

So, is it bad to inhale fire extinguisher residue dust? Moderately yes. The dry chemical powder in standard ABC class fire extinguishers and others will irritate the respiratory system if it is inhaled making breathing difficult.

Before you go calling an extremely expensive cleaning crew to come in and clean up the extinguishing powder, it would be helpful to know what type of fire extinguisher was used to extinguish the fire and what personal protective equipment (PPE) is needed to clean up the mess yourself. 

The Type of Fire Extinguisher Used Matters

There are different types of fire extinguishers on the market today. An understanding of the different types of fire extinguishers and the agents used to extinguish the fires is important. This information will help determine the level of harm that could be experienced if exposure to the agent occurs, as well as the best methods for proper cleanup.

Class ABC Fire Extinguishers

This is the most common fire extinguisher on the market, used in both residential and commercial settings. The extinguishing agent used is monoammonium phosphate. Monoammonium phosphate is considered an irritant to the respiratory system and therefore indicates that you should use proper personal protective equipment to protect yourself during clean up.

Class BC Fire Extinguishers

Designed to extinguish Class B and Class C fires, the BC fire extinguishers use Sodium Bicarbonate as their extinguishing agent. The agent is in a powder form and can also irritate the respiratory system if exposure occurs and you do not have the proper personal protective equipment.

Class K (Purple K) Fire Extinguishers

Class K fire extinguishers use a blend of potassium acetate and potassium citrate forming what is known as a potassium bicarbonate-based agent. This too is a dry chemical powder and will irritate the respiratory system if exposure results you do not have the proper personal protective equipment.

Halotron and Carbon Dioxide Fire Extinguishers

Halotron I and II, and Carbon Dioxide fire extinguishers are designed to be used on sensitive electrical equipment and are known “clean agent” fire extinguishers. They are known as “clean agent” extinguishers because they leave no residue/powder behind after the fire extinguisher has been discharged in suppressing the fire, but rather the agent dissipates into the air and no clean-up process is required. The residue of other discharged fire extinguishers can corrode and damage sensitive electrical equipment and are therefore not recommended for use on these types of fires.

How to Safely Clean Up After Using a Fire Extinguisher

If you have discharged a dry chemical fire extinguisher and are now preparing to engage in the clean up process, read our other article titled, “How to Safely Clean Up Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue”.  The article details the steps and guidelines to properly and safely clean up the residue powder left behind from the extinguishment, as well as the necessary Personal Protective Equipment that may be recommended to protect yourselves from inhaling the powder, or from experiencing exposure to your skin or eyes.


How to Properly Cleanup After a Fire Extinguisher Discharge

How to Properly Cleanup After a Fire Extinguisher Discharge

Amerex 589 Fire Extinguisher - Dry Chemical High Performance Compliance FlowThe fire extinguisher is a marvelous invention, and its use in successfully combating a fire before it spreads out of control is a major triumph. Also important after extinguishing the fire is properly cleaning up the fire extinguishment residue and taking the appropriate personal precautions in the process.

How to Safely Clean Up Dry Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue

The extinguishing agents (sodium bicarbonate, monoammonium phosphate, potassium bicarbonate) used in dry chemical fire extinguishers leave a corrosive powdery residue that can corrode metal surfaces if left in contact for very long and should be cleaned up as soon as possible.

Recommended cleaning strategies:

  • Any loose debris/product should be initially swept or vacuumed up to minimize dust and to reduce the amount of interventive solutions that will need to be used. The residue should then be placed in a bag for disposal.
  • Residue that has hardened and adhered to surfaces should be sprayed with a 50/50 solution of warm water and isopropyl alcohol. Let the solution sit on the hardened residue for a few minutes to allow it to dissolve, then thoroughly wipe it away with a damp material such as a cloth or towel.
  • To neutralize sodium bicarbonate and potassium bicarbonate residue, make a solution consisting of 98% hot water and 2% vinegar, apply it to the residue, and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp material such as a cloth or towel.
  • To neutralize monoammonium phosphate residue, make a paste by mixing baking soda with hot water, and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping it away with a damp material such as a cloth or towel.
  • A final cleaning with soap and water of all exposed surfaces, including any items to be used like cookware, should be conducted followed by a proper rinsing and drying.

Personal Protection Measures:

Because the fire extinguishment residue is a moderate irritant to the respiratory system and eyes, and a mild irritant to skin, precaution should be made to avoid eye, respiratory, and skin exposure. The use of personal protective equipment (goggles, face mask, and latex gloves) may be warranted, especially if dust is created or exposure is lengthy and/or in a confined space.

First Aid Measures:

Should exposure to the extinguishment residue occur:

  • Skin Exposure: Wash skin with soap and water. If a significant skin reaction occurs, seek medical attention.
  • Eye Exposure: Flush eyes with water until pain-free. If irritation returns or persists after exposure, seek medical attention.
  • Inhalation: Remove the person from the area into fresh air. If irritation or shortness of breath continues, seek medical attention.

cleaning up a fire extinguisher dischargeHow to Safely Clean Up Class K Chemical Fire Extinguisher Residue

Purple K dry chemical fire extinguishers with a potassium bicarbonate-based agent are used to combat fires where flammable fires my occur such as in industrial kitchens. The extinguishing agent is discharged as a mist to cool cooking surfaces and extinguish the flames. All cooking surfaces and cookware must be properly cleaned before being used again.

Recommended cleaning strategies:

  • With all power to the kitchen area shut off, use a sponge that has been submerged in a hot water and soap solution to clean the area and wipe away the residue.
  • All cookware, dishes, glasses, and utensils that have been covered with residue must also be wiped clean with the hot water and soap solution, and then washed as usual in a dishwashing machine.
  • Let all surfaces and cookware thoroughly dry before restoring electrical power.

Personal Protection Measures:

The fire extinguishment is considered a mild irritant to eyes, mucus membranes, and skin. Precaution should be made to avoid eye, respiratory, and skin exposure. The use of protective rubber gloves is recommended during clean up.

First Aid Measures:

Should exposure to the extinguishment residue occur:

  • Skin Exposure: Wash skin with soap and water. If irritation develops and persists, seek medical attention.
  • Eye Exposure: Flush eyes with water until pain-free. If irritation develops or persists, seek medical attention.
  • Inhalation: Remove the person from the area into fresh air. If irritation develops or persists, seek medical attention.
  • Ingestion: This unlikely exposure can be treated by giving 2-3 glasses of water to drink and induce vomiting.

How to Safely Clean Up Clean Agent (Halotron, Carbon Dioxide) Fire Extinguisher Residue

Capable of extinguishing Class A, B, and C fires with a clean, residue-free agent, Halotron and carbon dioxide is used to fight fires involving sensitive electronic equipment. There is no residue to clean up as the agent dissipates into the atmosphere. However, cleaning the areas affected with soap and water can help remove the smoky smell from the fire.

Common Questions:

Does the Brand of Fire Extinguisher residue matter?

Maybe. Manufactures of fire extinguishers provide Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) that list out the proper steps and guidelines for cleaning up their specific fire extinguisher agent. Additionally, the MSDS will provide the necessary safety requirements/guidelines to consider when dealing with their products. For your convenience, you can click HERE to view the different MSDS for the major fire extinguisher manufactures: Buckeye Fire, Badger, Amerex, Kidde, Ansul, and Pyro-Chem.

Ladder Inspection Checklist – and Why you Should do it!

Ladder Inspection Checklist – and Why you Should do it!

Step laddersIn a previous article titled, “Why Do People Fall from Ladders and How to Prevent It”,  I mentioned an experience I had a few years ago where I fell off a ladder because the ladder was damaged. Had I inspected the ladder before I used it, I would never have used the ladder in the first place. Inspecting a ladder only takes a minute or so and could possibly save you from injury or even death.

Each of the following items should be checked on a ladder before using it:

  • Ladder rungs (steps)
  • Ladder bolts, screws or attachment parts
  • General Rust or decay
  • Weakened or damaged areas
  • Cracks or splits
  • Twisted or distorted rails
  • Instruction/Safety stickers.
  • Ladder accessories and attachment parts

To better understand the importance of each of these items, let’s take a look at them each individually.

Ladder Rungs (steps)

The first thing to look for are any bent, missing, or otherwise broken rungs. Using a ladder that has a missing or damaged rung is extremely dangerous. If the ladder has a missing or damaged rung it should be thrown away.

Warn out ladder rungs is another common problem that can occur with well-used ladders.  Metal ladders have rungs with grooves or ridges on each rung to help with gripping. Over time, the grooves get worn down and don’t provide the traction/grip as it should to ensure your safety. If this is the case, it’s time to get a new ladder!

Ladder Bolts, Screws or Attachment Parts

Ladders are made up of several different parts and components connected together by bolts and screws. Before using a ladder of any kind, look it over for any loose/missing bolts or screws. Try opening and closing the ladder (step ladder) or extending/retracting the ladder (extension ladders) to see if the ladder operates as it should. Stand the ladder up and shake the ladder with your hand. This will help you identify any loose or missing bolts and/or screws.

If the ladder is missing a screw or bolt, take it to a professional repair shop or consider getting a new ladder. Ladders are put together using specific bolts or screws that are designed specifically for the ladder. The wrong kind or size of bolt will not allow the ladder to operate correctly and may not support you when you are using the ladder.

Some ladders are equipped with accessories or have the capability to add accessories to the ladder. If the ladder accessory is damaged or missing a bolt, discard it.

Rust or Decay

While it depends on the amount of rust or decay, a rusty metal ladder or a wooden ladder with decaying wood is a sign of a damaged ladder that should not be used. When reviewing any ladder that has rust or decay occurring on the ladder, especially on the rungs or key parts of the ladder I suggest erroring on the safe side and getting a new ladder.

Weakened or Damaged Areas

Ladders that have been left outside in the rain, snow or blistering sun may develop weakened areas in the ladder. This may be hard to notice and inspect.

For metal ladders, use the palm of your hands to push on the metal while feeling for areas that are not solid or that “pop” in and out with pressure. For wooden ladders, feel for soft areas (with the palm of your hands) that when pushed in, create an indent or impression. This is a sign of water damage and compromises the integrity and strength of the ladder.

Cracks or Splits

Cracks or splits on any type of ladder, regardless of the size, should be discarded and not used. It may be tempting to use a ladder that has a small crack on it. However, your weight will only make the crack bigger and less safe.

Twisted or Distorted Rails

Extension ladders, if not taken care of, can bend and twist along the sliding rails. It is important to inspect the rails as most of the ladder’s support is depended on the rails. You may not always notice if the rails are bent or damaged unless you are specifically looking for it.

For badly damaged rails, discard the ladder immediately. Otherwise, you will want to keep an eye on all slight and minor damages to the rail to ensure that they do not become worse with use.

OSHA Ladder StickerInstruction/Safety Stickers.

All ladders are sold with safety stickers on the sides. They include the following information:
– If the ladder is OSHA approved or not
– Ladder height
– Set up/take down instructions
– Load capacity
– Where the ladder is made (USA. China, etc)
– The ladder’s highest standing level for safety
– What the ladder is made of
– Whether the ladder is made for commercial or residential use
– Ladder checklist (for that particular ladder)
– How to care and store the ladder
– Proper use of the ladder.

Ladder Accessories and Attachments Parts

Depending on the ladder, it can be equipped with some additional accessories for various projects. If you are using an attachment or accessory with you ladder you need to do two main things:

  • Ensure that the accessory is designed to be used with the ladder you are using.
  • Inspect the accessory to ensure that it has not be damaged and is still in good working order.

For Example:

Werner ladders are great for both the professional and the DIY homeowner. One accessory that they make is the AC78 Quickclick Stabilizer. It is designed to allow ladders to be placed in front of a window by attaching bars that rest on the side of the window. This allows the user to wash the window or paint the window trim without adding pressure to the glass window.

There are several other ladder accessories on the market. For your own safety, it is important to inspect them before using them.

Common Questions

When Should you Inspect a ladder or ladder accessory?

Ladders should be inspected:

  • At the beginning and end of a season
  • Before you purchase a ladder
  • When given a ladder
  • Before each use
  • If the ladder has been tipped over, fallen or dropped

How can you make your Ladder last longer?

  • Properly store your ladder
  • Apply a protective coat on wooden ladders (sealer, wax or other wood preservative)
  • Clean fiberglass ladders with clear lacquer or paste wax every 3 months
  • Oil or lubricate any pulleys on extension ladders
  • Handle the ladder with care when opening/closing step ladders

Can I fix the ladder myself?

NO! Never attempt to repair a broken or bent ladders. Ladders that are missing bolts or other connective items should be repaired by a licensed professional.

Why Do People Fall from Ladders and How to Prevent it

I’ve used a ladder several times over the last decade while doing projects around the house or on one of my rental units. I have only fallen once. Luckily, it was a small, simple fall that bruised my ego more than my body. That is not the case for everyone who has fallen from a ladder.

There are five main reasons why people fall from ladders. They are:
1- Poor ladder setup (angle)
2- Incorrect ladder for the job.
3- Using a damaged ladder
4- Using the ladder incorrectly
5- Lack of ladder safety understanding

Thousands of people are injured, and some killed from ladder falls. Most of these ladder falls can be attributed to one of the five reasons listed above. To better understand how someone would fall from a ladder and how to prevent it, continue reading the article below.

Poor Ladder Setup

Poor ladder setup can involve a few things, or rather, “not” involve a few things. Some things to be aware of when setting up a ladder are:
1- Ladder Angle
2- Ladder Base surface
3- Environmental conditions (snow, rain, wind)

I was watching my neighbor work on the outside of his house in the rain this morning. He was “on the go” getting stuff done with his ladder when all of a sudden the bottom of the ladder slipped out from under him. It was clear to me that this happened because the ladder was set up too far away from the wall that he had placed the ladder against. Lucky for him, he was able to land on his feet. After this, he was much more mindful of the angle that he placed the ladder.

The angle of the ladder set up is probably the most common reason why people fall from ladders. Whenever you set up a ladder, it is important that you follow the 4 to 1 rule which you can read HERE. This rule is designed to ensure proper ladder setup.

Perhaps if the cement surface wasn’t wet and slippery, the ladder would have stayed put. Loose gravel, smooth/wet surfaces, and soft foundations (mud) are extremely unstable areas to set up a ladder.

If you need to use the ladder in any of these conditions, it is important that you have a support partner who can stand at the base of the ladder and ensure that the ladder doesn’t slip and cause you to fall.

Incorrect Ladder for the Job

I am guilty of this…For a long time, I only had one ladder. I used this ladder for every job I had. Often times this would require that I rig up the ladder in some creative fashion to get the job done. This is certainly not a safe practice. Use the correct ladder for the job.

For example:
Using a folding A-frame step ladder as an extension ladder by leaning it against the side of the wall instead of opening it up and locking the support bars as it is designed to is extremely dangerous and runs the risk of slipping out from under the user even if they follow the “4-to-1 rule” because the ladder is not designed to be used that way.

Damaged LadderUsing a Damaged Ladder

When I bought my first rental unit over a decade ago, I found a ladder under the house (crawl space). I decided to inspect the roof and rain gutters. I set up the ladder following the 4-to-1 rule and began to climb the ladder. About half way up, one of the rungs (steps) broke in half. Luckily my other foot was still planted on the lower rung and I didn’t fall.

Using a broken ladder is another common reason why people fall from ladders. Before using a ladder, it is important to inspect it for any damaged or weakened parts. To learn more about how and why to inspect a ladder, read our other article titled: “Ladder Inspection Safety Checklist

Using the Ladder Incorrectly

Just because you are using the correct ladder for the job, following the 4-to-1 rule, it is still possible to use the ladder incorrectly. For example, wearing shoes that have little to no grip on them can be very dangerous, along with carrying heavy items up and down the ladder, or not correctly holding onto the ladder bars.

While these are minor issues, they are extremely common reason why people fall from ladders.

Lack of Ladder safety UnderstandingLadder

While you could say that the above four (4) reasons could all fit under this one, I decided to separate it because knowledge and understanding is the best safety tool anyone can have, especially when using a tool such as a ladder. Make sure you understand the kind and type of ladder you own and make sure to maintain it properly. Having an understanding of your kind of ladder and why people in general fall from ladders is the first step in preventing yourself from falling when using a ladder.

Next time you are using your ladder, be sure to set up the ladder properly (4-to-1 rules), use the correct ladder for the job, inspect the ladder for any damage or weakened parts and use common sense when using the ladder.

Hopefully, this has been helpful for you! Let us know in the comments section below if you have ever fallen from a ladder and what you learned from it!

22 Things You Should Never do When Using a Ladder – Ever


Recently I wrote an article about the ladder 4 to 1 Rule, which you can read HERE, a helpful guideline for properly using a ladder in providing common sense ladder safety in the prevention of falls from the ladder. Simply following the 4 to 1 rule won’t guarantee your safety, but used in conjunction with these 22 other “never do when using a ladder” common sense strategies should greatly reduce the risk of falls and other ladder mishaps.

  • Leave a ladder unattended
  • Use during poor weather conditions
  • Climb on the non-rung side of a step ladder
  • Use a broken ladder
  • Shuffle, slide, or shake the ladder to move it
  • Pull or push on an object
  • Use the wrong type of ladder for the job
  • Stand on the top of the ladder
  • Drop, throw, or tip over a Ladder
  • Poorly place the ladder when in Use
  • Lean beyond the edge of the ladder
  • Use it as a bridge, shelf, or any other non-ladder purpose task
  • Tie two or more ladders together to make it longer
  • Exceed the maximum weight for the ladder
  • Slide down the ladder’s edge
  • Skip steps/rungs
  • Climb the ladder with wet or slick shoes
  • Use uncertified accessories
  • Sit on or face backwards of the ladder
  • Carry heavy items up or down the ladder
  • Catching an item thrown up to you
  • Goof off or play around while up on the ladder


To better understand why we shouldn’t do these things listed above, let’s take a look at each one in detail. Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ll be better prepared for safety the next time you pull out the ladder to do a home project.

  • Leave a ladder unattended

Leaving a ladder unattended is an accident waiting to happen. Just the other day, while my family and I were out for a family drive looking at some of the new homes being developed in the area, I noticed that the workers at one particular job site had left their ladder up against the partially framed house after a long day’s work. It could be very easy and tempting for a child or adult, to climb up to look around, unaware of any unseen danger.

Once you are done using the ladder, put it away. Not just laid down on the ground, but properly stored away to prevent its use.

  • Use under poor weather conditions

Avoid using the ladder in poor weather conditions such as the rain, snow, or wind. Any one of these environmental conditions can increase the likelihood of an accident occurring.

Most ladders are made of metal and are extremely slippery when wet (rain or snow) and strong winds can push over any ladder.

Note: If you do HAVE to climb up the ladder in poor weather conditions, make sure to take every safety precaution possible.

For example:

  • Have a person holding onto the base of the ladder for better support
  • Use good gripping shoes
  • Use two hands while going up or down the ladder
  • Use PPE
  • Climb on the non-rung side of a step ladder

Some step ladders have rungs or steps on both sides of the “A-Frame” design and others only have rungs/steps on one side with support bars on the other side. The support bars are not designed for a person to climb on or to handle weight directly on them.

To prevent the ladder from being damaged and compromising the design of the ladder, you should only use the step/rungs side of any ladder.

  • Use a broken ladder

Never use a broken ladder for any reason, even if it is “real quick”. A bent or broken ladder should be discarded immediately. In fact, inspecting the ladder before using it is part of the ladders pre-use checklist which you can read about HERE.

  • Shuffle, slide, or shake the ladder to move it

We’ve all been there, right – up on a ladder doing a project, whether for your home or on the job site, and you need to move the ladder over just a few inches to finish the job. You quickly assess the amount of time it will take you to climb down, move the ladder over, and climb back up, and compare that to simply performing a quick little shuffle or slide the ladder over while you skillfully hold on at the top.

Not surprisingly this is one of the major reasons why people fall from ladders. Always take the time to climb down and properly move the ladder over so that it is erected straight up and on even ground. If you would like to learn more about the major reasons why falls occur on ladders, read our other article titled, “Why People Fall from Ladders and How to Prevent Them

  • Pull or push on an object

While standing on the ladder, it can be extremely dangerous to try and push or pull on an object, regardless if it is big or small. The reason for this is because you don’t have the ability to brace yourself and counteract the force like you would if you were standing on the ground.

Remember, you are only as stable as the ladder.

  • Use the wrong type of ladder for the job

A friend of mine has a lightbulb that needs to be replaced in a living room that has a 20-foot ceiling. When I asked him how he was planning on replacing the lightbulb, he said smiling, “Oh easily, I have a 15-foot ladder and I’m 6 foot”.

I quickly pointed out that ladders are not designed for the person to stand on the very top. The warning label on most ladders says to never ascend beyond the last step before the top of the ladder.

  • Stand on the top of the ladder

I think I answered this in the point above. This too is one of the major reason why people fall from ladders which is mentioned in our other article. Your balance is even more compromised and you have absolutely nothing to brace against.

  • Drop, throw, or tip over a Ladder
    This is extremely dangerous. Not only could this compromise the ladders effectiveness and preparedness for the next time you need to use the ladder, but could also injure someone below – dashing around a corner catching you by surprise.

    Once you are done using the ladder, carefully take it down and put it away so that it doesn’t get knocked or blown over.

  • Poorly place the ladder when in Use
    Sometimes the ground will not be level can make the ladder lean to one side. If this is the case, do not climb the ladder. Rather, find a new place to set up the ladder where the ground is level and safe to climb.
  • Use a step ladder or an extension ladder incorrectly

Never use a ladder that isn’t set up correctly. Step ladders must be fully folded out and the locks in place to prevent them from collapsing. Likewise, extension ladders must be locked in place to prevent it from sliding back down when in use.

  • Tie two or more ladders together to make it longer
    Let’s say you have a wall that is 20 feet high and you only have two 10-foot ladders. Which of the following should you do:
    A- Rent or buy a 20+ foot ladder
    B- Skillfully tie the two ladders together to make a 20-foot ladder

If you chose option B, I worry about you! Ladders are not designed to be tied together even though we may see the feat performed on YouTube fails compilation. This is certainly an accident waiting to happen.

  • Exceed the maximum weight for the ladder

Ladders are designed to carry a certain amount of weight and not more. The person using the ladder plus all of his or her tools must not exceed the manufacturers recommended weight limit.

The weight limit will be shown on the side of the ladder. Exceeding this limit may damage the ladder and could put you at risk of injury.

  • Slide down the ladder’s edge

I can remember watching a movie were one of the actors, a fireman, quickly slid down the ladder by placing his feet on the outsides of the ladder, his hands holding firmly onto the side while he slid down the ladder. I can remember thinking it would be cool to try.

Luckily I never did. While this looks fun, it can be dangerous. Especially if your fingers were to get caught on the side or you slip from a significant height.

  • Skip steps/rungs
    It can be annoying going up and down the ladder while working on a project, especially if you have to do it several times or are in a big hurry. It may be tempting to skip a step or two to save time.

    Never Skip a ladder rung or step regardless of how much of a hurry you are in. It can compromise your balance and potentially lead to an accident.

  • Climb the ladder with wet or slick shoes
    This should be obvious, having wet or slick shoes can cause you to slip and fall while using the ladder. It’s best to have good gripping shoes. Shoes with a good grip on them will enhance your grip and hopefully help the efficiency of your climb.
  • Use uncertified accessories
    There are a lot of products on the market that you can add to your ladder to make a job easier. However, each of these products have undergone a series of tests to ensure that they will not interfere with the ladders functions and the safety of the user.

    This means rigging up your own paint holder to the extensions ladder might not be the best idea.

  • Sit on or face backward of the ladder
    You should not use a rung/step of a ladder for a perch location. Not only is this uncomfortable, but can be dangerous. Without your hands holding onto the side of the ladder, there is only one way you can go if you slip – and that’s down.
  • Carry heavy items up or down the ladder
    Carrying a heavy 5-gallon paint bucket up the ladder can be dangerous. This not only shifts your balance, but also prevents you from holding onto the ladder with two hands.

    Remember, there must always be at least three points of contact when going up or down a ladder -2 hands with 1 foot, or 1 hand with 2 feet.

  • Catching an item thrown up to you
    While using a ladder, you need to be focused on what your doing of the task at hand. Trying to catch a tool that has been thrown up to you will temporarily shift your focus from balancing on the ladder to catching the wrench.
  • Goofing off or play around while up on the ladder
    A fall from a ladder can have serious consequences of injury or even death. This is not the place to act silly or play around. People who have become too comfortable with using a ladder because they have been using one their whole lives are at the greatest risk of ignoring all the safety rules of proper ladder usage.

What are the Tools That are Carried in EMS Pants?

What are the Tools That are Carried in EMS Pants

You would think that this would be an easy question to answer with a basic industry standard list. However, EMT’s and Paramedics have personal preferences that their particular job experience has necessarily biased them towards, and you have to also consider that these first responder professionals have their equipment bags that will hold many of the essential medical supplies they may need. Consequently, any list of essential tools to be carried will undoubtedly have common items, while other tools may or may not be considered as “essential to carry on person” from one EMS professional to another. Nonetheless, considering that there is no time to waste in an emergency situation, quick and easy access to those items needed immediately when working on the patient must be able to be instinctively retrieved from the clothing the EMS personnel is wearing.

So, what are the tools that should be carried in the multi-pocketed EMS cargo pants? The essential EMS tools that should be carried in EMS cargo pants are:

  • Gloves and spares. These items may be in a glove pouch
  • Pens & sharpies. At least two of each
  • Pen light
  • Small but effective flashlight
  • Cellphone and charger
  • Personal items – wallet, keys (often in the hip pocket)
  • Rescue hooks
  • Trauma shears
  • Note pad or 3x5 cards
  • Rescue Knife or folding multi-tool
  • Window punch (glass breaker pen)
  • Belt cutter


As previously mentioned, this list may or may not be completely common among all EMS personnel depending on their unique circumstances and preferences. It may include items that some personnel prefer to carry in their EMS shirt or EMS bag. And, it certainly may be considered as missing key items that they feel should be included. So, what are some additional items that could also be carried in EMS pants, or possibly EMS shirt, or even the professional’s belt or EMS bag, for quick access.

  • Stethoscope
  • CPR face shield
  • Gauze pads & bandages (sometimes for the Paramedic or EMT)
  • Medical tape
  • Syringe
  • Vomit bag
  • Handwipes and sanitizer
  • Leather gloves
  • Chapstick
  • Walkie-talkie
  • When you need to see in the dark and have your hands free to work with


If you know several EMS professionals and were to talk to them about what they specifically carry in their EMS pants or EMS shirt, you would undoubtedly find some common essential tools they all carry in their EMS pants. And undoubtedly you would also learn of different tools that some find essential to have on their person when working with a patient, while others prefer those items be kept in their EMS bag. Additionally, you might learn that some EMS professionals use the same tool for different purposes. For example, some practitioners may use a knife only for removing the cap of saline bottles. Some don’t carry a knife or belt cutter because they will use the shears when something needs to be cut. These professionals will find a way to use the tools available to their advantage in getting the job done. I even know EMT’s that make sure their side pockets contain granola bars to fuel their on-the-go workstyle.


What makes EMS pants unique?

In order to carry this large number of essential tools for ready access, EMS pants must have multiple pockets and they must be properly positioned on the pants with access points that allow the Paramedic or EMT to instinctively and conveniently reach and secure them.

Good quality EMS pants must be made durable as they will be used frequently and put through vigorous and often unpredictable work settings. Some pants are constructed with ripstop materials to help prevent the transition of a small tear to a larger one. The pants may include a gusseted crotch and reinforced knees that help with both mobility and durability. Most pants are water resistant.

EMS pants are made of superior blend of polyester and cotton for added comfort, mobility and flexibility in movement, and extra breathability. Some pants may be treated with Teon fabric protector to help keep them clean and professional looking.

Because the EMS environment is one where blood borne pathogens can be present, EMS pants should be blood born pathogen resistant.

All of these requirements for a good pair of EMS pants means that they should be comfortable to wear, functional in housing of essential emergency tools and allowing for the mobility and flexibility in movement required for the required positions of EMS work, and durable to withstand the environmental elements and rigors of the Paramedic and EMT.



What is the 4 to 1 Rule When Using a Ladder?

What is the 4 to 1 Rule When Using a Ladder?

What is the 4 to 1 Rule When Using a Ladder? The other day I had to get up on the roof of my house to retrieve a whiffle ball that was hit up there during one of our many side yard whiffle ball games. While getting my ladder out of the shed and placing it against the edge of the house, I contemplated what is the best distance from the house to place the base of the ladder to ensure the best stability and help ensure that I was safe from falling while going up and down the ladder.

So, what is the 4 to 1 rule when using a ladder? For every four (4) feet of height you have to climb, move the base one (1) foot away from the wall that the ladder is resting against.

While this tip applies specifically to extension ladders, it is great for those of us who only use a ladder a few times a year for things like Christmas decorations, gutter maintenance and retrieving the occasional ball that ends up on the roof.

Why the 4 to 1 rule?

The 4 to 1 rule prevents a ladder from being placed to close or too far away from the wall in which it is placed against. By following the 4 to 1 ladder rule, the user ensures that the ladder is placed in such a way that maximizes balance and stability, helping to prevent it from tipping backwards or to the sides. As a result, accidents are less likely to occur when a ladder is placed properly against the wall and on sure ground.

Ladder Injuries

Injuries from falling from adders can be a serious or even prove fatal. According to the National Safety Council, roughly 500,000 people fall from a ladder every year in the United States and roughly 90,000 people visit the ER as a result of these falls.

Types of ladders

There are a variety of ladders on the market to choose from with each ladder type serving a specific purpose. Some of the more common types of ladders are:

1- Step Ladder

  • Most common type of ladder used
  • Self-supporting – “A-Frame”
  • Two main types of step ladders
    1- Rungs or steps on one side of step ladder and support bars on the other side
    2- Rungs or steps on both sides of the step ladder ‘A-Frame’

2- Extension Ladder

  • Straight ladder that extends upward making the ladder longer to reach higher
  • Requires the ladder to be placed against another object or wall
  • Can reach higher places han most step ladders
  • Comprised of two parts:
    The Base – The part of the ladder that is placed on the ground
    The Fly – The part that extends upward

3- Platform Ladder

  • Similar to a step ladder – the platform ladder has a platform at the top of the ladder
  • Built in rail on the platform
  • Allows the user to stand at the top of the ladder
  • Used in construction, airports, and other businesses where workers need to work in elevated places

4- Step Stool

  • Found in most home bathrooms and kitchens
  • Usually only has 1-2 steps
  • Used to help you get something that is just out of reach
  • Easy for kids to use

5- Multi-purpose Ladder

  • Defined as a ladder that can accomplish the tasks of two or more ladder’s
  • Most often used at construction sites
  • Highly versatile
  • Designed to extend or fold

6- Telescoping Ladder

  • Main feature is the ability to collapse into a variety of different lengths
  • Telescopes in and out
  • Highly compact
  • Highly portable
  • Favored by house painters
  • Most often used at construction sites

7- Folding Ladder

  • Shorter ladder
  • Larger steps
  • Folds up flat
  • Portable
  • Often found in the home
  • Used for small projects