Raise an Extension Ladder Properly
By Matt Weber
The easiest way to raise a long extension ladder is to do it with two people. One person “foots” the first rung, holding the bottom of the ladder securely to the ground, as the second person walks toward the house with the other end of the ladder, raising it with the first person’s help, as needed.
1. If you need to raise the ladder alone, it needs to be collapsed to its shortest height. First, brace the foot of the ladder against the wall and walk it slowly toward the base, rung by rung and hand by hand, until the ladder is upright. Rest the top of the ladder against the wall, roof, or other solid surface. Then lift the base out to a slight angle where it can temporarily rest without your support. 2. Extension ladders are equipped with a lanyard and pulley to help extend the ladder. To use the lanyard, first foot the bottom rung, carefully tilt the ladder backward with one hand, and pull the rope with the other to extend the ladderas necessary. Be careful of hazards to nearby power lines or other people. 3. An extension ladder should be set with base 1 foot away from the wall for every 4 feet the ladder reaches, or roughly a 75-degree angle. 4. Once you’ve got it positioned right, you need to secure the feet. The base of the ladder should rest on level ground with the feet flipped into position. On a wooden deck, you can nail a board down behind the feet to act as a cleat and prevent slippage. When setting up on uneven ground, it helps to dig a small trench beneath the high foot of the ladder to level the base. 5. Make sure all locks are engaged and that the ladder is supported securely at all contact points. If it seems the least bit unstable, tie ropes to the ladder stiles beneath the lowest rung and anchor them to something solid. You can also secure the top of the ladder using rope or wire fastened to a couple of eye screws mounted into the house’s fascia.