There are stories every day in the news about people falling off ladders and getting injured. These stories, more often than not, are set in the workplace where ladders are frequently used, but sometimes there is the tale of a homeowner doing some DIY or maintenance
and falling foul of a dodgy ladder.
This story, from Wayland, Massachusetts, USA, is one such example. A 52-year-old man was using a ladder in his garden to trim an overgrown spruce tree, lost his balance and fell between twenty and thirty feet to the ground. Falling on grass is not as dangerous as falling on concrete or other hard surfaces, as the springy grass and earth beneath it will absorb a lot of the impact of the fall. However, the manâ€™s wife, who was nearby, attempted to catch her husband and break his fall. Both people were taken to hospital, although their injuries were, thankfully, not life-threatening and both were conscious. They both received treatment for arm injuries.
It is nice that the manâ€™s wife wanted to beak his fall, but a fall on grass will often have a lot better outcome than a fall on a hard surface and had the wife not stepped in, she would have then been uninjured and able to care for her husband. As it stands, they are both recovering from the incident.
Although this next story does not have any physical ladders in it, it is still a great example of what happens when humans and the need for a ladder meet. In the town of St Croix, Virgin Islands, six children between the ages of four and fourteen were rescued from a burning apartment in the early hours of the morning. By the time the firefighters arrived at the scene of the blaze, all six children, who had been inside the building at the time of the fire, had been rescued.
When the fire first started around 3am, the 14-year-old ran from the building, closely followed by an 11-year-old, who had a 4 and 5-year-old with her. A passerby saw the fire and alerted residents, who came out to help rescue the remaining two children. Two men and the 14-year-old boy formed a human ladder by standing on each others shoulders to allow the boy to reach the window of the apartment on the second floor. Using a hammer, the boy broke the louvred blinds over the window and pulled the 6-year-old through the window, passing him down the human ladder to a man below who caught him.
With one child still in the apartment, a local man named Wellington Pennyfeather ran inside and retrieved the 5-year-old, who had suffered smoke inhalation and burns to 20 per cent of his body. Local fire chief, Angel Torres, says all those involved in the rescue â€œshould be commended for their bravery and their unselfish and heroic acts that saved the lives of all the childrenâ€.
Two very different stories here, as one shows the dangers of getting involved with rescuing someone falling from a ladder, the other shows that getting involved with a rescue, which involves creating a human ladder, is worth the risks associated for saving the lives of six children trapped in a burning building. The moral of the story here is to pick your battles: the woman who tried to break her husbandâ€™s fall also ended up in hospital and he may not have injured himself any worse without her intervention. This would be an occasion not to get involved. The people who created a human ladder to rescue children from a burning building did not put themselves in great danger, yet their actions made a life-saving difference to those kids, making this an occasion to absolutely get involved.